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Tornado warning issued for Columbia and Lexington County by National Weather Service

You have 10 minutes to evacuate. Are you ready?

You can’t predict when disaster will strike, so make sure you have a plan. Here are nine things you can do to prepare for a future evacuation.
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You can’t predict when disaster will strike, so make sure you have a plan. Here are nine things you can do to prepare for a future evacuation.

Much of Lexington County and Columbia were placed under a tornado warning Sunday night by the National Weather Service.

Lexington, West Columbia and Cayce all had a tornado watch elevated to a tornado warning, according to a 6:45 p.m. tweet from the NWS.

The warning was in effect until 7:15 p.m., and long with the possibility of tornadoes is also potential pea-sized hail, NWS tweeted.

Anyone in an area under tornado watch is told to “take safety precautions immediately,” the South Carolina Emergency Management Division posted on Facebook.

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The NWS added Columbia and Dentsville to the tornado watch just after 7 p.m., with a tweet that said the warning is to 7:45 p.m. It was later extended for the Columbia Metro Area by the NWS.

The storms have left 8,270 South Carolina power customers in the dark as of 7:30 p.m., the S.C. Emergency Management Division posted on Twitter.

At 6:57 p.m., a possible tornado was spotted in Lexington County, “about 6 miles west of Red Bank near Interstate 20, moving east,” according to a tweet from the NWS.

At 7:04 p.m., a tornado was spotted in Red Bank, and was moving east toward Columbia Metropolitan Airport, NWS posted on Twitter.

At 7:11 p.m., a possible tornado was spotted northwest of the airport, and it was heading east toward the airport and Oak Grove, NWS tweeted.

At 7:17 p.m., a possible tornado was spotted “near Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia,” NWS tweeted, saying the potential tornado was moving northeast toward north Columbia.

At 7:20 p.m., a possible tornado was spotted in north Columbia, near Earlewood Park, and was heading northeast toward Eau Claire, according to a NWS tweet.

▪ At 7:26 p.m., a possible tornado was spotted over Five Points, and was moving at 30 mph, Midlands Weather tweeted.

 

The severe weather is a product of a cold front moving through the Midlands, according to a briefing from the National Weather Service. The threat for severe weather in the Midlands will be from 4 p.m. to midnight.

Early damage reports from the storm includes downed trees and limbs, standing water in roadways, according to tweets from the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department. There has also been building damage, including to the front of Red Bank Baptist Church.

Traffic lights are out at the intersection of South Lake Drive and Glassmaster Road in Lexington, according to a tweet from police.

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

 

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.

Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.

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