UPDATE: Midlands hunkers down for stormy weather this afternoon

01/30/2013 10:33 AM

01/31/2013 12:36 AM

UPDATE, 7:00 p.m. The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch until 1 a.m. Thursday for much of South Carolina including the counties of the Midlands. A watch which means conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms and tornado development. Pay close attention to weather developments.

UPDATE, 3:15 p.m. Lexington 3 has canceled after-school programs at Batesburg-Leesville Primary and Batesburg-Leesville Elementary and all practices for athletic teams. Adult education classes also are canceled.

Lexington 1 has canceled all athletic practices or events, adult education classes, other school or district-related meetings, events or extra-curricular activities scheduled for late Wednesdsay afternoon and evening.

Kershaw County Schools has canceled after-school activities requiring bus transportation. Parents with students in after-school programs are being asked to pick up their children as soon as possible.

Richland 1 middle school and high school after-school programs (including the 21st Century, after-school athletic tutorial and comprehensive remediation programs) and all athletics events/practices/games (including the middle school basketball tournament) have been canceled Wednesday. Elementary after-school programs will proceed as scheduled. The middle school basketball tournament will be rescheduled.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation is reporting disruption due to downed trees:

-- 5300 block of Colonial Drive. One northbound lane is closed, southbound lanes open. The tree is down in roadway and a vehicle hit it as it fell. No serious injuries reported.

UPDATE, 2:40 p.m. Richland 2 officials have canceled all after school and evening events that require bus transportation. Some individual schools may choose to cancel additional programs and events. Check with your school.

SC A severe cold front working its way across South Carolina today is already sparking strong winds, thunderstorms and, possibly, tornadoes.

The same system kicked up tornadoes from Ohio to Texas on Tuesday. The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center has placed the entire state under slight risk of severe weather.

A tornado watch has been issued for most of the Upstate through 8 p.m. Counties in the watch included Abbeville, Chester, Laurens, Spartanburg, Anderson, Grenville, Oconee, Union, Cherokee, Greenwood, Pickens and York. Watches likely will be issued for the rest of the state as the system moves east.

The worst of the storms are expected to hit the Midlands in the late afternoon, according to Mark Malsick, severe weather liaison for the state climate office.

Conditions aren’t ripe for widespread supercell tornadoes, but even isolated smaller tornadoes can cause plenty of damage.

The system is expected to move off the coast before midnight, and temperatures behind it will be nearly 30 degrees cooler than early today.

MORE ON TEMPS: From The Southeast Regional Climate Center today: Max. Temp. as of 2 p.m. at Columbia Metro AP is 82 degrees. This is now tied for the third warmest value on record for a January day.

JOEY HOLLEMAN and Rachel Myers Lowe

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