A severe thunderstorm accompanied by strong winds ripped through Berkeley County and Moncks Corner Thursday, ripping a portion of the roof off of the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles building.
What was first thought to be a possible tornado was later confirmed to be just very strong wind gusts, according to the National Weather Service.
Independence Day was marred by other severe weather around the region.
One person was fatally struck and at least 11 others were injured by lightning on the afternoon of July 4 at a popular Black River gathering spot, according to a report from local media.
They were part of a large group under a tree struck when repeated lightning bolts erupted during a “pretty bad thunderstorm,” said Tony Hucks, Georgetown County Fire and Rescue assistant chief. The people under the tree were shocked by the force of one of the blasts, according to the Associated Press.
The strikes were among the earliest trouble as thunderstorms blew up across eastern and coastal South Carolina in the afternoon hours.
In Moncks Corner, parts of the roof were torn from the state Department of Motor Vehicles office on U.S. Highway 52, according to the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office.
The National Weather Service Office in Charleston received a number of reports of a possible tornado but couldn’t immediately confirm whether one had touched down, said meteorologist Brittany MacNamara. Radar evidence didn’t indicate a tornado.
Three people struck by lightning near the river were taken by ambulance to Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital, including one in cardiac arrest, Hucks said.
That person later died. He was identified as 44-year-old Ryan Gamble of Andrews, according to AP. In late reports from the hospital, a total of 12 people were injured. In addition to Gamble, eight were in fair condition and three treated and released, said spokeswoman Dawn Bryant.