Severe weather warnings were issued for the Columbia, South Carolina area on Tuesday

Severe weather warnings were issued for the Columbia, South Carolina area on Tuesday

As powerful storms descend on South Carolina on Tuesday, a tornado warning has been issued for the Midlands, according to the National Weather Service.

The wind warning previously went into effect at 6 a.m

The National Weather Service said a tornado watch is in effect until 6 p.m. for both Richland County and Lexington County, as well as Calhoun, Clarendon, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lee, Newberry, Orangeburg, Saluda and Sumter counties.

Shortly after 1 p.m., a severe thunderstorm warning was issued for parts of Richland, Lexington, Fairfield, Newberry, Saluda, Aiken and Edgefield counties, according to the National Weather Service. The National Weather Service said the warning was in effect until 2 p.m., when a line of storms was moving at 50 mph.

The warning was extended until three in the afternoon Columbia, Lexington and West Columbia.

“Stay alert for a possible tornado!” The National Weather Service said. “Tornadoes can develop quickly from severe thunderstorms. If you spot a tornado, immediately go to the basement or to a small central room in a sturdy structure.

Additionally, the National Weather Service said anyone in or near Lake Murray should stay out of the water and take shelter.

The announcement came hours after a flood warning was issued in Columbia, and flood warnings were issued in other counties across the Midlands, according to the National Weather Service. The National Weather Service said potential flooding of the Congaree River could affect Richland and Lexington counties.

The risk of flash flooding is low but possible, especially in northern parts of the Midlands and in urban areas where drainage is poor, National Weather Service meteorologists said at a news conference Tuesday morning. There is a greater risk of river flooding starting Wednesday, according to the report.

but Strong gusty winds remain the biggest threat The National Weather Service said the storms were headed toward the District of Columbia.

The severe weather is expected to affect the Midlands region of South Carolina.
The severe weather is expected to affect the Midlands region of South Carolina. National Weather Service

The storms are expected to strengthen by the afternoon, and will remain a threat into the night, according to the briefing. The Midlands can expect the greatest impacts between noon and 6 p.m., but impacts will be present hours before and after, the National Weather Service said.

Strong winds are expected, with gusts of up to 45 mph, according to the briefing. Some wind gusts may strengthen due to thunderstorms and gusts could exceed 70 mph, the National Weather Service said.

At the peak of the storms, maximum wind speeds outside thunderstorms are expected to be about 30 mph in the Columbia area, according to the briefing.

In addition, a few tornadoes are likely within the storm lines, and a large EF2+ tornado is possible, with wind gusts up to 135 mph, the National Weather Service said.

Meteorologists said a wind warning was in effect until at least 10 p.m.

The severe weather is expected to affect the Midlands region of South Carolina.
The severe weather is expected to affect the Midlands region of South Carolina. National Weather Service

Gusty winds will blow around unsecured objects.

Strong winds and tornadoes can cause severe damage to trees and branches, as well as structures including mobile homes, roofs and outbuildings. Vehicles will also be under siege in the event of a hurricane.

Damage to trees and branches creates the possibility Power lines and outages.

As of 11:45 a.m., more than 19,000 outages have been reported in South Carolina.

The severe weather is expected to affect the Midlands region of South Carolina.
The severe weather is expected to affect the Midlands region of South Carolina. National Weather Service

Meteorologists also urged drivers to be careful Tuesday because these strong winds could make driving difficult.

This prompted most school districts in the Midlands to close buildings and switch to e-learning for students on Tuesday.

“If you must drive during the worst weather, adjust your speed and distance accordingly,” the South Carolina Department of Public Safety said on social media.

Strong to severe thunderstorms and heavy rain are also included in the hazardous weather forecast for the District of Columbia.

The forecast shows there is a 100% chance of rain in Colombia, with more than an inch likely on Tuesday. Local quantities in other areas of the Midlands may be higher. Previous rainfall forecasts called for more rain to accumulate, but they have since been reduced because the storms are expected to move quickly, according to the briefing.

“Most flood deaths occur in vehicles,” the National Weather Service said. “Never drive across a flooded road or around curbs. Turn around, don’t drown.”

Even after the storms leave the area, impacts are expected to continue. Conditions Wednesday morning and afternoon are expected to be breezy, with wind speeds likely to exceed 30 mph, according to the briefing.

It won’t be long before severe weather impacts the Midlands, as strong thunderstorms with strong winds and a 90% chance of rain are expected on Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

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This is a breaking news story

In the case of breaking news, the facts may be unclear and the situation may still be developing. The state tries to communicate important information to the public as quickly and accurately as possible. This story will be updated as more information becomes available, and some information in this story may change as the facts become clearer. Refresh this page later for more updated information.

This story was originally published January 9, 2024, 8:17 am.

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Noah Feit is a real-time reporter with The State focusing on breaking news, public safety and trending news. The award-winning journalist has worked for several newspapers since starting his career in 1999.
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