Tornado Watch for the Midlands, severe storms expected Friday

Primary Threats: Damaging winds in excess of 70 miles an hour, possible tornadoes

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) — South Carolina is under significant threat for severe thunderstorms during the daytime hours Friday.

The National Weather Service in Columbia has issued a Tornado Watch for the entire ABC Columbia viewing area until 6 p.m.

A well-developed upper-level trough, which is allowing for a strong combination of unstable warm air from the south to collide with a powerful draft of colder air from the north, will lead to a serious concern of damaging winds and possible tornadoes starting around the lunchtime hour and continuing through the afternoon hours. Winds could be in excess of 60-70 miles an hour.

Those located in Columbia and points eastward to include Winnsboro, Camden, Orangeburg, and Manning are under a moderate risk for severe thunderstorms according to the Storm Prediction Center. This is the second-highest threat level and is not as common for South Carolina, which indicates the seriousness of the threat and the likelihood that there will be significant damage due to the winds that develop throughout the duration of the storms.

Those located westward into Newberry, Lexington, Saluda, and Aiken are under an enhanced risk for severe thunderstorms, which is the third-highest threat level. The same threat factors include damaging winds and possible tornadoes.

Already, some smaller lines of severe storms are moving into the Upstate of South Carolina and into the Triangle of North Carolina. Tornado warnings were issued for some counties north of Raleigh during the mid-morning hours, which indicates that the atmosphere is already primed for powerful storms during the day.

Once the cold front and the trough passes through the Midlands during the evening, the threat will pass from the region, allowing for cooler but calmer conditions going into the Easter holiday weekend.

You can track the storms with the ABC Columbia radar here, and the ABC Columbia Weather Team will keep you posted on the situation.

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