Tornado watch issued for Midlands ahead of Sunday storms, emergency officials say

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The Midlands area could be in for a rocky afternoon and evening Sunday as a cold front brings severe weather through the area, including periods of heavy rain and damaging winds, according to forecasters.

In addition to predicting severe storms, a tornado watch has been issued for parts of South Carolina, including Columbia, according to a Facebook post from the S.C. Emergency Management Division. According to the alert, the tornado watch is until 11 p.m. and during that time tornadoes, quarter-size hail and wind gusts up to 70 mph are all possible.

The front is moving through the Central Savannah River Area of Georgia and central South Carolina on Sunday afternoon and will be east of the area by late Sunday night, 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.

The greatest threats for the area will be damaging winds and the possibility for tornadoes, according to Jeff Linton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Columbia.

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A cold front moving through the area Sunday is expected to bring severe weather, including damaging winds and the possibility for tornadoes.

National Weather Service in Columbia

On Sunday, forecasters were projecting a significant impact from damaging winds and an elevated impact from tornadoes, according to the weather briefing. The wind could cause considerable damage to trees, mobile homes, roofs and outbuildings, the briefing notes.

Any tornadoes that develop would likely be on the weaker end of the scale, Linton said.

A tornado watch had previously been issued for some eastern Georgia counties.

“There’s going to be some really heavy downpours as well,” Linton said. “Some localized flooding is not out of the question, but the storms will be moving fairly fast.”

Most of the central S.C. area can expect 1 to 2 inches of rain, Linton said.

Linton urged residents to be alert as the severe weather rolls in and noted the National Weather Service’s safety tips for severe weather and tornadoes, which include getting in a small interior room on the lowest level of a building.