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      Tuesday storms bring severe damage, power outages for hundreds in the Midlands

      Tree crushes SUV in Columbia / Hank MacDonald

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- A line of powerful storms that moved through the Midlands early Tuesday morning knocked down power lines and trees.

      Many residents were awoken by lightning, strong winds up to nearly 70 miles per hour and rain around 2 a.m.

      When the sun came up, motorists were greeted by trees and debris blocking the roadway. Thousands were left without power and several unlucky homeowners had mild to severe storm damage.

      On the bright side, officials say they haven't heard any reports of injuries. But Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins says it's been years since he's seen a storm like this.

      The South Carolina Highway Patrol says they have been called out to hundreds of blocked roadways and broken traffic lights.

      South Carolina Electric and Gas is reporting under 800 power outages, mostly in Lexington and Richland counties. That number peaked earlier in the day at close to 50,000 homes without power. Duke Power also says they have around 8,000 customers without power in South Carolina. Mid-Carolina Electric Co-Op says out of 50,000 customers, 12,000 were without power. They are now down to 2,500 in the dark.

      There are several ways to find out more about current SCE&G's outages, as well as report outages. The SCE&G website has detailed maps of current outages and a form to report outages. You can also get that information on a mobile device at or via the company's twitter account . Reports are also available by calling 1-888-333-4465.

      Crews will likely be working long hours Tuesday cleaning up the mess.

      Columbia officials ask people who see downed trees that have fallen in the right of way to contact the Forestry and Beautification Department at 803-545-3860 or the city TMs non-emergency number at 803-252-2911.

      Utility providers tell WACH Fox News if the meter is damaged at the home an electrician will have to repair the box before companies turn the power back on.

      A power outage at the Coventry Woods Wastewater Treatment Plant is causing sewage to spill into Twelve Mile Creek which flows into the Saluda River, according to health officials. DHEC is warning people to stay out of the watershed because they are anticipating high levels of bacteria downstream. SCE&G is working to restore power to the plant.

      The American Red Cross is opening an overnight shelter to house those left without a place to stay after the severe weather. The shelter will be located at the Eau Claire Baptist Church on Main Street. The Red Cross is also working in conjunction with its partner, Southern Baptist to provide tree-removal in affected areas.

      Tornado and severe thunderstorm watches were issued ahead of the storm, but so far no tornados have been confirmed by weather officials.

      Remember, when severe weather strikes turn to the SkyWACH Weather Team on the web , Twitter , Facebook and on-air for the latest.

      Also, if you have any pictures of the storm you would like to share, please send them to us through those sites, or by sending them to .