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Five tornados confirmed to have touched down in South Carolina on Wednesday

The National Weather Service in Columbia confirms a total of five tornados touched down in South Carolina on Wednesday following severe thunderstorms that moved through the state.

The first tornado touched down at 10:27 a.m. south of Wagener in Aiken County. This EF0 tornado reached peak winds of 85 miles per hour and lasted three minutes. It destroyed an outbuilding and several trees on its 3.54-mile path.

The next three tornadoes touched down in Lexington County. The first, an EF0 tornado, touched down southeast of Gilbert and reached an estimated peak wind of 80 miles per hour. Beginning at 10:30 a.m. and lasting just two minutes, the tornado snapped trees and downed power lines on its 1.46-mile path.

The second tornado touched down at 10:40 a.m. near Woodford, crossing from Lexington County into Orangeburg County. This stronger EF1 tornado had peak winds of 90 miles per hour. Lasting ten minutes, this tornado damaged trees on its 6.64-mile path.

The third tornado was spotted near South Congaree in Lexington County at 10:44 a.m. and lasted about seven minutes. An EF0 tornado, it had an estimated peak wind of 75 miles per hour and laid a path of 3.56 miles long. NWS surveyors report the tornado mainly snapped branches and uprooted trees along its path.

The last tornado of the day occurred in rural western Calhoun County at 11:02 a.m. and lasted just a minute. This EF0 tornado, reaching a maximum of 75 miles per hour, only produced tree damage for about 200 yards.

Meteorologist Megan Borowski said the tornadoes were due to a squall line of thunderstorms ahead of a cold front that tracked through the width of the Palmetto state on Wednesday.

“Along these strong cold fronts, especially during the winter months,” said Borowski, “we see thunderstorms become strong.”

Severe thunderstorms can produce wind gusts of over 57 miles per hour, tornadoes, and large hail.

“Mainly for yesterday, this was a wind maker,” Borowski said.

Preliminary reports from the Storm Prediction Center note 26 wind-related incidents scattered across McCormick, Chester, Aiken, Barnwell, Lexington, Orangeburg, Colleton and Horry Counties on Wednesday.

While most report downed trees and branches, there were a few instances of power line and residential property damage.