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.
“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.”
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.”