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Strong Storms, Cold Front Expected on Friday

Strong thunderstorms are expected over the Palmetto State on Friday ahead of a late spring cold front. The storm system is forecasted to push through South Carolina from west to east during afternoon and evening Friday, and some of the strongest cells could produce large hail and damaging winds.

Earlier this week, an area of low pressure developed on the leeward side of the Rocky Mountains and pushed into the Central Plains, where it produced numerous reports of hail, winds, and damaging tornadoes Wednesday evening. The same system will track eastward on Thursday and approach the eastern seaboard states on during the day Friday. Ahead of it, winds should draw elevated levels of humidity into our state, which will prime the environment to sustain thunderstorm activity.

The latest data suggest that broken lines of thunderstorms will approach the Blue Ridge and Upstate shortly after lunchtime on Friday. The cells should then near Columbia around the evening rush before nearing the I-95 corridor near the time of sunset. Damaging straight-line winds will be the most likely hazards from these storms, on top of heavy rainfall rates and frequent lightning. In addition, large hail will be possible in the higher elevations of the Upstate. A few isolated tornadoes could also form, although parameters will likely not be as favorable compared to that for winds or hail.

Behind the system, a few showers will be possible on Saturday. By Sunday and through the start of the workweek, a cooler and drier airmass should reside overhead: Highs should reside in the upper 70s and lower 80s.