A weather system moving through the Midlands on Wednesday could bring hail, tornadoes and wind gusts up to 70 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
Forecasters say there will be multiple threat periods for thunderstorms from late Wednesday morning to Wednesday night, but severe weather is most likely between 4 and 8 p.m. There will be a lesser chance of severe weather between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Frank Alsheimer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Columbia, said the areas along Interstate 20 and south of the interstate face the highest chances of severe weather. That includes the downtowns of Lexington and Columbia.
The storms could bring the potential for tornadoes as strong as an EF2, wind gusts up to 70 mph and ping-pong-ball-size hail, Alsheimer said.
“It’s still a little early to pin down what location and what time,” he said. “There is a moderate threat of severe weather across the Columbia metro area.”
Much of the area can expect to see 1 to 2 inches of rain, Alsheimer said, and some areas receiving heavier rainfall could see more than 3 inches. No major flash flooding is expected, but Alsheimer said some minor flooding is possible, especially in urban areas and on low-lying roads.
“The main thing right now is to tell folks to be weather-aware tomorrow and understand that there is a threat for those types of severe weather,” he said. “The threat is equivalent to what we saw” Monday.
Around a dozen utility poles and several trees were toppled or broken in two in Calhoun County as Monday’s storm moved through the area, according to David Chojnacki, Calhoun County emergency manager. County officials received pictures from several residents showing damage to their homes.
The National Weather Service determined that an EF2 tornado touched down southeast of St. Matthews near Old S.C. 6 on Monday. Chojnacki said no injuries were reported.
The weather service also determined that an EF1 tornado touched down in Aiken County.
In Richland County, a wind gust of 65 mph was reported at Williams-Brice Stadium.
The highest gust at Columbia Metropolitan Airport in Lexington County was 44 mph. County crews removed seven downed trees blocking roadways Monday afternoon. The county reported some localized flooding on Spool Wheel and Spring Hill roads in Gilbert, while the weather service reported wind damage to some buildings.