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‘Take immediate safety precautions,’ officials warn for areas under tornado warning

What to do during a tornado

VIDEO: If your area is under a tornado warning, then you may only have a few minutes to get to safety. Here are the actions you should take during a tornado.
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VIDEO: If your area is under a tornado warning, then you may only have a few minutes to get to safety. Here are the actions you should take during a tornado.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch Sunday for much of the Midlands and Upstate areas of South Carolina. Just before 3 p.m., that alert was upgraded to a tornado warning for parts of the Midlands, according to the S.C. Emergency management Division.

The watch was issued around 1 p.m. and includes parts of Georgia along with two-dozen South Carolina counties, among them Richland, Lexington, Greenville, Spartanburg and York counties.

Parts of McCormick and Edgefield counties were elevated to a tornado watch, the NWS office in Columbia tweeted. In addition to possible tornadoes, storms could create penny-sized hail, NWS Columbia said on Twitter.

People in those areas are advised to “take immediate safety precautions,” by the SCEMD.

Much of South Carolina is under a slight risk for severe thunderstorms, the National Weather Service said Sunday morning. That’s just above the lowest risk level of marginal and includes the possibility for short-lived and/or not widespread isolated intense storms.

The greatest threat from the low-pressure system will be strong damaging winds and a risk of isolated tornadoes, said Chris Rohrbach, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Columbia. Severe wind gusts could reach 60 mph or more, Rohrbach said.

“The severe weather will continue into the early evening for the central portion of South Carolina, including the Upstate,” he said.

The NWS forecast for Columbia is calling for an 80 percent chance of precipitation, and the possibility of “severe” storms, with winds around 18 mph, but possible gusts exceeding 30 mph.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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