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'It sounded like a freight train': Residents describe seeing tornadoes, severe weather pass by

A day after severe weather, residents across the state are cleaning up the damage the storms and tornadoes left behind.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Residents across the Midlands spent Wednesday morning cleaning up storm damage before more severe weather ripped through. The Midlands hit with tornadoes, heavy rain and wind, a storm that the Midlands hasn't seen since 2009.

A Columbia Uber driver recounted the moment she saw a suspected tornado as it made its way through Lexington County. Sarah Smiley says she was travelling home on I-20 after dropping off her last Uber passenger when the sky went dark.

RELATED: A man captured video of a large tornado in South Carolina. Here's what it looked like.

“I was on the way back from Augusta, I dropped somebody off at the masters,” Smiley said. “It was almost like black smoke. It was twirling and throwing stuff.

"I was so close on it," Smiley continued. "I couldn’t go back on it because there was cars, it was on the interstate, we stopped to let the smoke monster or whatever it was, do what it did and let it pass.”

Smiley saying she’s never seen anything like it. “It’s a nightmare, because there’s no where to run,” Smiley said. “It broke trees and broke them off like toothpicks. The car was the only shelter I had at that moment.”

RELATED: SC couple trapped in high winds in their truck as tornado moves through county

RELATED: 'It's devastating': Allendale tornado leaves behind path of destruction

During that moment, Smiley said she was so scared, she started praying. When asked what her thoughts were in that moment, she said, “Am I going to die here today? Am I going to make it home to my family?”

Over in Calhoun County, Denise Dancha described the moment a tornado came through.

“All of a sudden, started just blowing, trees started laying over, I saw things flying and the ladder fell over,” Dancha said. “It was scary. We were so afraid it was going to take our house or take the top off.” 

Dancha said she'll never forget the noise. “It sounded like a freight train just coming right through the house.”

RELATED: Three tornadoes confirmed in South Carolina, but that number will climb soon

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