Schools to close Monday

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By Greg Summers

County officials are asking local residents to limit travel as much as possible Sunday evening because multiple roads are blocked by fallen trees, downed power lines and flooding.

Right now, Duke Energy has 3,184 power outages in the county and Lynches River Electric Cooperative has 276 customers without power.

Hopefully, power should be restored to most of those before the evening is up.

“They are working diligently to get it back on,” said Lancaster County Fire Rescue/Emergency Management Director Darren Player at a Sunday afternoon briefing.

While the main body of Hurricane Florence’s remnants have now moved passed the county, the National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency for Lancaster until 8 p.m. Sunday after an estimated 5 to 15 inches of rain fell here in the last 24 hours. Between 2 and 4 inches of rain is still possible this evening.

“If you don’t need to be anywhere other than home, stay home,” said Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Doug Barfield, in noting: “There’s not real good driving out there right now.” 

Lancaster Fire Department Chief Justin McLellan urged motorists not to disregard barriers set up in areas of flooding and standing water.

“Please don’t go around it…. It’s there for a reason and you stand a chance of getting washed away,” he said.


No schools

The Lancaster County School District has canceled classes for Monday because portions of 58 county roads are impassable and there roof leaks at 80 percent of the school campuses.

“We have 4,300 miles of bus routes we drive every day, picking up 7,000 students. In checking roads to make sure it was safe, we felt like we needed one more day,” said district Superintendent Jonathan Phipps.

The leaks, he said, can be attributed to “2.6 million feet of rooftops” at county schools. “That’s a tremendous amount to check and make sure everything is OK,” Phipps said.

Leaks have been found at A.R. Rucker Middle, Brooklyn Springs Elementary, Buford Elementary, Middle and High, Clinton Elementary, North Elementary, Harrisburg Elementary and Indian Land Middle and Indian Land High, as well as Lancaster High School.

A tree has also fallen on the Discovery School playground that makes it unsafe for students.

While there is no leak at Heath Springs Elementary, Phipps noted that groundwater runoff has gotten in the building. Groundwater is also inside Indian Land Elementary School.  

Plus, he noted, Andrew Jackson Middle and Andrew Jackson High School were without power Sunday afternoon.


City, county services

Non-essential city of Lancaster services will open as usual Monday, though flooding will continued to be closely monitored.

“We’re moving a lot of water through our system to maintain sewer [wastewater] system in a working condition, which is a great thing,” said Lancaster Mayor Alston DeVenny.

Blockades have been placed on Clinton Avenue near S.C. 9 Bypass East, as well as Isom and Almetta Streets, said Lancaster Police Chief Scott Grant.

Lancaster County offices will open two hours late Monday, with the exception of Del Webb Library in Indian Land and recycling centers.

The library, said county administrator Steve Willis, is closed indefinitely due to a major roof leak.

“It may be Monday, it may be longer, depending on what repairs are needed,” Willis said.

Willis also noted the county recycling centers will stay closed until the Republic Landfill in Lee County reopens.

“Lee County got hammered,” Willis said.