Thunderstorms ahead of cold front cause damage

Lightning struck the attic of this Dunham Street home on Daniel Island on Monday. Ken McCrory, a mover with All My Sons Moving & Storage, was in the home with the owner and saw the bolt travel down the elevator shaft

Strong storms with heavy rain and lightning moved through the Charleston area Monday night ahead of a cold front.

Trees and power lines were downed, and lightning started a house fire on Daniel Island.

Fire and burglar alarms were set off around the region, sending police and firefighters scrambling from place to place.

The storms knocked out power to traffic lights and nearly 1,600 SCE&G customers.

Reports of damage started about 6:20 p.m., when lightning struck a tree on Aragon Avenue near a home in North Charleston. The fire had burned itself out by the time firefighters arrived, and the home was not in danger, North Charleston Fire Department Battalion Chief Eric Phillips said. He said there were no other calls for lightning damage in North Charleston.

Ten minutes later, however, there were reports that lightning struck a house on Dunham Street in the Cochran Park subdivision on Daniel Island. Charleston and

Mount Pleasant firefighters joined forces to battle a blaze in the attic for about a half hour. Firefighters contained the fire in the attic, said Mark Ruppel, public information officer for Charleston Fire Department.

Within 30 minutes, authorities were called to secure roadways where power lines were down or arcing in Mount Pleasant and on James and Johns islands. Alarms were sounding throughout the region.

The storms dumped more than a half-inch of rain in North Charleston and more than an inch in Mount Pleasant, said meteorologist Steven Rowley of the National Weather Service in Charleston.

Minor flooding was reported in downtown Charleston, but no streets were closed, said Charles Francis, police public information officer.

By 8 p.m., most of the clouds had cleared.

South Carolina Electric and Gas was working to restore electricity to the area. About 800 customers remained without power late Monday.

Rowley said a cold front was expected to arrive between midnight and 2 a.m. and drop temperatures about 10 degrees. He said today's outlook called for cooler temperatures and drier weather.

The storms were part of the same weather system that caused gusty winds and tornado warnings in the Upstate and high winds and heavy rain in North Carolina, Rowley said.

The same storms later injured hundreds of people after moving into Virginia, where three tornadoes touched down. Property damage was widespread.