Storms harsher in other counties

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By The Staff

Lancaster County was spared the worst of Saturday afternoon’s severe storms.

The county was under a tornado warning and severe thunderstorm warning late Saturday afternoon, but no damage was reported locally, according to Lancaster County Emergency Management.

Many parts of the state weren’t so lucky. According to the Associated Press, it could take days – even weeks – for state officials to clear debris and complete an assessment of the damage left by the severe storms. Preliminary reports Monday showed a total of 501 homes statewide damaged, with 68 of them destroyed, said state Emergency Management Division spokesman Derrec Becker.

No one was killed in the storms in South Carolina, while two people have died from storms in Georgia.

Insurers estimate property damage at $13 million and that figure should rise as adjusters assess more damage this week, according to the S.C. Insurance News Service.

The National Weather Service confirmed at least 15 tornadoes in South Carolina over the weekend. Twisters that hit near Prosperity and Branchville were rated EF-3, with winds up to 165 mph. Most of the rest were considered weaker tornadoes, with winds under 110 mph.

Gov. Mark Sanford joined state emergency management officials Monday to survey damage in South Carolina. Businesses and homeowners in Kershaw, Orangeburg and Berkeley counties will likely be eligible for low-interest government loans, but state officials must first access the damage, Sanford said.

“To have a home taken from you in the middle of the night is, at worst, debilitating and, at best, an absolute tragedy,” he said.