Strong Storms Expected Late Thursday


By Jonathan Oh

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- After a couple of sunny, warm days with highs in the mid to upper-80s, a big gamechanger is in the forecast. High pressure that has been dominating the weather during the first half of this week is shifting to the east, and that is going to allow a powerful cold front to sweep through the Carolinas Thursday night into Friday. Because the Deep South is saturated with warm, moisture-filled air, there is a lot of gas for the cold front to slam into the area, allowing for the development of thunderstorms. When warm air is flowing over a particular area and becomes targeted by a cold air mass, the warm air gets pushed up into the sky, making the air unstable. This is when we see the development of storms, and depending on how quickly the air rises, the storms can also become quite strong as well.

The timing of scattered thunderstorms this afternoon will begin after 2 p.m. This is not the actual cold front moving through, but an already unstable atmosphere will allow the development of pop-up scattered thunderstorms during the afternoon. Not everyone will see rain, but the storms that do pop up will be powerful. Strong, damaging winds are the primary concern. The Storm Prediction Center has placed South Carolina under a slight risk of severe weather, with damaging winds being the primary threat. There is also a threat of isolated tornadoes as the wind flow moves in different and twisting directions. If you were a balloon going up into the sky, you will feel the air switching directions. When these winds become powerful, it helps in the development of tornadoes (though there are many more ingredients involved in the development of twisters). The Storm Prediction Center places a 5% risk of tornadoes, so again, the main concern is with straight, powerful winds.

The rain and storms will intensify tonight after sunset when the cold front starts to push through the state. Make sure your weather radios are functioning properly in the case these storms become severe. The rain is expected to linger into the early morning hours, so expect some rain for the morning commute Friday. By Friday afternoon, the front should depart from the state, allowing for clear skies and highs around 80 degrees.

Make sure to tune in to ABC Columbia News at Noon, Six, and Eleven throughout the day for the latest on the forecast, and the last portion of the wet weather should be departing during Good Morning Columbia at 6 a.m. You can also log on to for the latest, including the latest Weather Alerts and Interactive Radar. You can also follow Jonathan Oh on his Facebook page by going to
Current: 56°
High: 56°
Low: 52°
Wind: 7 MPH
Pressure: 30.06
Humidity: 84 %

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