Scattered damage, power outages in Lancaster County

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Schools on 2-hour delay

Gregory A. Summers and Hannah L. Strong

The Lancaster News

The remnants of Irma blew through Lancaster County overnight, leaving more than 1,200 homes without power and scattered debris and downed trees in many places.

At daybreak, winds were light and rain was still falling. By mid-morning, the storm's last rain bands had moved to our north, and blue skies were beginning to peak through.

Lancaster County schools were on a two-hour delay after being canceled Monday.

At 7 a.m., Duke Energy reported 1,269 customers without power in the county and said its crews would work as quickly as possible today to get service back on.. 

"As expected, we see our outage numbers up as Irma did not go quietly into the night," said Rick Jiran, Duke's vice president for governmental affairs. "The weather is favorable for restoration efforts, but lots of this work will be slow going as there are many trees down, especially in the rural areas.  We will work as quickly but as safely as possible. "

The storm also prompted the postponement of Monday’s 6 p.m. county council meeting, which has been rescheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, said County Administrator Steve Willis.  

The storm, one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes on record, was downgraded to a tropical storm and then a tropical depression as it spun through Georgia toward Tennessee after battering Florida.

The S.C. Lowcountry suffered considerable flooding, with water flowing down the streets along Charleston's Battery.The harbor gauge in Charleston has reached its third-highest level. Highest winds were reported at 72 mph in the Folly Beach area.

Local emergency officials never took the storm lightly, said Lancaster County Fire Rescue Director Darren Player. Into Tuesday, they continued to closely monitor weather conditions.

Rainfall in the Piedmont was expected to total 1 to 3 inches, with up to 4 inches in the western Upstate.

Lancaster County Schools were closed Monday. The school district announced Sunday afternoon that students would attend classes this morning with a midday dismissal, but then canceled classes for the day. Early Monday evening, they put Tuesday's schedule on a two-hour delay.

Classes at USC-Lancaster were also canceled Monday, though faculty reported as usual.

County and city services were functioning on normal schedules Monday.

American Airlines announced 353 regional flight cancellations at Charlotte Douglas International Airport on Monday. Southwest Airlines has suspended all operations at Douglas until 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The S.C. Department of Transportation went to 12-hour, around-the-clock shifts Monday and is patrolling and checking travel conditions along primary county roadways. Its crews are also checking and clearing all bridge drains and other poor drainage locations within the flood-prone areas of the county.

S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster and state emergency officials gave an update on Irma’s impact Monday afternoon.

“There’s still a lot of danger out there,” McMaster said, warning people to stay away from flooded areas and downed power lines.

McMaster said there are about 83 road closures, 2,081 people clearing roads and 100 extra highway patrol troopers working state roads.

About 25 shelters opened across the state, accommodating nearly 900 people.