Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The Midlands is at risk for an outbreak of severe weather today, as the ingredients are coming together for potentially dangerous conditions across the regions.
THE LATEST: WHAT'S CAUSING THIS:
A storm complex that's moving across the southern states is expected to interact with a warm front over. That interaction will trigger a series of storms cells, some of which could be very severe.
"You need to be monitoring the weather throughout the day," says News19 Chief Meteorologist Jim Gandy.
The Storm Prediction Center has put the a portion of the state, including Columbia, in an area with a "moderate" level of risk. However, moderate is the second highest level on their scale. The eastern Midlands, iis under what's know as "enhanced risk," one level of degree lower.
Those terms just mean that the regions are at an increased risk of seeing the threats caused by severe weather, and that the effects could be severe.
TIMING: WHEN WILL THIS ALL HAPPEN?:
Many of you have been asking us online when will this happen. The models keep changing on the timing of the storms, but we could see some of the severe weather by later in the morning and those storms are expected to last much of the day, with brief breaks in between. People should be prepared to seek shelter immediately if a warning is issued in their area.
WHAT WILL WE SEE?
Some of the effects include damaging winds, hail, frequent lightning, and an isolated risk of tornadoes. Jim does not think we'll see significant flash flooding.
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WATCH/WARNINGS: WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
A watch is issued when conditions are favorable for those conditions, whether it's a severe storm or a tornado, to form.
A warning is issued when those conditions are actually observed, whether by a trained meteorologist on radar, or a trained spotter on the ground.
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SCHOOLS DISMISS EARLY:
Because of the threat, most school districts in the area have made the decision to cancel class early.