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Severe storms expected across the state Tuesday

Tornadoes will be possible today with a round of strong to severe thunderstorms across the state. Severe storms have been ongoing in the early part of the day and have had a history of producing tornadoes in the Florida panhandle into southern Georgia and Alabama. The areas of greatest concern for severe thunderstorms are the Lowcountry, Pee Dee and much of the Midlands, including Columbia, where the Storm Prediction Center places an ENHANCED risk of severe weather, a level 3 out of 5. Damaging winds will be the primary severe weather hazard with sustained winds already blowing over 35 mph through the day, and thunderstorm gusts could be as high as 85 mph.

Winds statewide will be steady and strong, with frequent gusts over 40 mph. In the afternoon, the severe weather potential will increase significantly and be primarily focused along a squall line of intense storms tracking west to east. The winds above the surface will be favorable for tornadoes and any storm that develops ahead of this line in the afternoon will likely be rotating and capable of producing a tornado. This squall line of intense storms is expected to arrive in the Upstate near midday before reaching the state capitol in the later afternoon, before finally sweeping into the Lowcountry and Pee Dee areas in the evening hours.

Some flash flooding will also be possible, with the highest potential in the Upstate, where the WPC has designated a MODERATE risk for flash flooding. Severe weather will end this evening as cooler air briefly returns to the region into Wednesday. Another storm system is expected later this week.