Winds responsible for power outages, damage
On Sunday evening, a severe thunderstorm passed through downtown Columbia with 60 mile per hour winds. Destroying part of the The Lofts at USC and killing the power to Carolina Stadium, the storm was unexpected to most.
“Who really thinks The Lofts is going to flood or a tornado is going to hit?” asked second-year hospitality student Casey Sharpe, who is one of many who described the storm as a tornado.
Winds became so powerful that they took part of the roof off the apartment complex, which is mainly inhabited by USC students. Parts of the roof were thrown over the parking lot, landing on cars and in the pool of the complex. Other cars were pushed around the lot by the winds, causing them to collide, totaling various vehicles.
Students who weren’t at home found themselves confronted with caution tape and firefighters swarming the building, not allowing residents to go in and assess the damages of their respective rooms.
While one side of the building was relatively safe, some of the apartments, like those of recent graduates David McClain and Sarah Fulmer, were flooded with rain, as their rooms were missing a roof.
A number of students are away for summer and have not seen the damages for themselves.
For those who were displaced because of the storm, The Lofts is supplying three days in the Marriott Hotel.
“This is the first time this has happened in 20 to 30 years,” said Ashley Haynes, an employee of The Lofts. “It was a microburst, and it affected everything from here down to Bomber Stadium and Carolina Stadium. There was also debris and damage all through Olympia Mills.”
Patrick Price, a third-year broadcast journalism student who was displaced due to the damages, plans to move back into his apartment Wednesday, and The Lofts anticipate to be ready.
The storm caused a tree to topple onto power lines, which in turn caused the Carolina Stadium’s transformer to blow — effectively postponing the final game of the USC-Stetson baseball series.
“During the storm, I sought cover on a family’s porch.” said fourth-year retail and sports student Tomas Glenn who attended the game. “That is when I saw trees limbs breaking and light poles swaying at the stadium.”
Many game attendees left the stadium before the storm had reached its height.
The storm caused about 4,000 outages in the Midlands, only days after a storm that caused power outages for about 48 hours.