Midlands suffers early damage from weakening Florence

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Tropical Storm Florence claimed at least one home, a roof and, possibly, a life as it made its slow march through central South Carolina Friday night and Saturday.

Though the once-devastating storm had weakened significantly as it moved inland, reports of damage in Lexington County included a tree falling onto a West Columbia home Saturday morning.

A person inside the house in the 700 block of Violet Street reported leg pain as a result of the incident and was taken to a hospital, according to Lexington County spokesman Harrison Cahill.

Near Gilbert, also in Lexington County, Florence’s winds pulled the entire roof off a mobile home on Wire Road, exposing the home’s bare wooden beams as rain was expected to continue falling for hours.

Downed trees reportedly blocked several roads in Richland and Lexington counties Saturday morning, including on Heathwood Circle in Columbia and Hayride Road in Gilbert.

While 14 Lexington County roads had been closed due to downed trees and power lines early Saturday morning, all of those were cleared and reopened by 8 a.m., officials said.

Extensive power outages were being reported throughout the state, including around 1,000 outages in the Midlands as of around 11 a.m., according to SCE&G. The state Emergency Management Division estimated more than 170,000 South Carolinians were without power before lunchtime Saturday.

In the Upstate, which was expected to feel much milder effects from Florence, the storm’s winds may have contributed to a woman’s death Friday night.

A 61-year-old woman was killed around 9:30 p.m. Friday in Union County when she drove into a tree that had been blown into the roadway, Fox Carolina reported.

It’s the first death believed to have been caused by Florence in South Carolina.