Skip to comments.75,000 Without Power As Storm Slams S.C.
Posted on 08/29/2004 9:28:45 AM PDT by blam
75,000 Without Power As Storm Slams S.C.
Sunday August 29, 2004 5:01 PM
AP Photo NY107
By BRUCE SMITH
Associated Press Writer
MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (AP) - Tropical Storm Gaston sloshed ashore in South Carolina Sunday, spinning sheets of rain and near hurricane-force strength wind as it uprooted trees, snapped power lines and knocked out power to at least 75,000 homes.
A flash flood watch was in effect for most of the coast, and Charleston's mayor, Joseph P. Riley Jr., urged those who had not evacuated to stay indoors.
``The best advice for everyone is to stay put. Stay put, don't go out please,'' Riley said. ``This will be past us quickly and let's just stay out of harm's way and get it behind us.''
The storm made landfall at Bulls Bay near McClellanville, just a few miles from where Hurricane Charley made a second landfall after devastating southwest Florida earlier this month.
Across the harbor from Mount Pleasant in Charleston, Gaston caused street flooding and pushed over power poles.
Steady sheets of rain fell in Mount Pleasant, where some flooded roads were impassable. Tree limbs littered roadways. Palmettos planted earlier this year on a new boulevard were pushed to the pavement, and road signs twisted in the wind.
Residents in low-lying areas in Charleston and Georgetown counties were urged to move to higher ground before the storm hit. Authorities also asked people living in mobile homes to evacuate.
John Legare of the state Emergency Management said about 30 people had sought refuge in five shelters in coastal counties as Gaston approached. Shelters were opened in at least one inland county.
The storm could bring 6 to 10 inches of rain to coastal areas, and a flood watch was also issued for parts of North Carolina.
Bridges in the Charleston area were closed to large vehicles, including trucks and SUVs, officials said.
Gaston was moving north at about 9 mph after drifting off the coast most of Saturday. Hurricane warnings had been posted for the length of the South Carolina coast as Gaston picked up speed.
The storm hitting on a weekend made it easier for officials because there was no morning rush hour to contend with, said Lt. Morgan Shannon of the Charleston County Sheriff's Department.
``Still you are going to have people coming and going and things of that nature,'' he said. ``We want everybody to be careful out there.''
Gaston - the hurricane season's seventh named storm - was the second tropical storm in less than two weeks to hit the South Carolina coast. Earlier this month, Charley blew over South Carolina with 85 mph winds after devastating southwest Florida.
Gaston had maximum sustained winds near 70 mph early Sunday. A storm becomes a hurricane when its winds reach 74 mph, but Gaston was expected to weaken as it moved ashore.
Officials were concerned that Gaston seemed to be moving slower than Charley.
Residents are ``going to be faced with rains and winds for much longer periods of time,'' said Roland Windham, Charleston County administrator.
But Legare was optimistic that the storm had picked up speed, which could mean less flooding.
``The faster it moves, the less chance it has to rain,'' Legare said. ``But until it has passed through, I don't think we can say flooding is not a concern.''
In the Atlantic Ocean, Hurricane Frances strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds nearing 135 mph, but it was not expected to threaten land soon. The storm's center was about 590 miles east of the Leeward Islands in the southeastern Caribbean.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the southeastern United States should closely monitor the progress of the storm, which could reach near Category 5 intensity - with top sustained winds greater than 155 mph - on Sunday.
I'll take earthquake country any day.
...and Frances is following the GFS model...the one that takes it across FL, into the Gulf, and up to your neck of the woods.
Yup, I'm watching and worried.
Well, make that 74,999 homes, mine just came back. A cold breakfast is giving way to a HOT lunch!
I live close to Savannah,you wouldn't know anythings going on.The sun is shining here.
Florida joins you.