Aiken County storm cleanup expected to last 8-12 more weeks
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AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. -We are in the dead middle of a cleanup effort following a massive winter ice storm.
It was one month ago this week and Master’s Sunday is one month from today.
In Aiken, South Boundary is usually one of the most scenic drives in the county. Now, it’s covered with unsightly debris and limbs.
Aiken County EMS director, Tommy Thompson said no cleanup effort is an ideal situation, “You’re never going to be where you want to be, but we are at a satisfactory level. Of course, emphasis is to clear to roadways. We’re looking out for public safety.”
With the Aiken Trials, Steeplechase, and the Masters coming up in the next month, Thompson said heavily populated and traveled roads are getting lots of attention right now, “Especially the city of Aiken and North Augusta, they have chosen to use their own equipment to do their cleaning so they are concentrating on those areas where they know there will be high traffic for those events coming up.”
Though the damage is a month old, strong winds came along Wednesday night and finished what the storm started. Thompson said power outages were recorded all across the county due to hanging and leaning limbs, “Even into the evening, I know overnight there were approximately 1500 power outages that were caused by this falling debris.”
More suburban counties in our area like Aiken qualified for FEMA reimbursements because of widespread damage, but smaller counties like McCormick didn’t. However, because of widespread damage across the state, smaller counties will have access to that money.
Thompson said, “Even though they may not have qualified and hit that threshold and qualified, the state qualified so that opens up the door for them to qualify for reimbursement from FEMA.”
Thompson wanted to stress to residents that patience is key right now. He expects the cleanup to continue for as many as twelve more weeks, “Right now we have gotten that portion finished as of last week, for the major part. We’re starting to pick up debris along the right of ways.”