Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A round of severe storms brought high winds, large hail, and flooding rains to the Midlands Wednesday.
Several tornado warnings were issued, primarily in Lexington, Richland, Saluda, Edgefield, and Calhoun Counties, At this point, there's been no official confirmation that a twister touched down.
At present, there have been no reports of serious injuries, although there was damage, mainly in Saluda County near Monetta and Ridge Spring.
Some areas reported ping-pong size hail when the storms went through. In other areas, there was greater than expected rainfall that led to street-level flooding. At least two inches of rain fell in one hour over Columbia alone.
Several streets in Lexington and Richland County had to be blocked while crews dealt with the problem, and some people became trapped in their cars. Along Assembly Street, a small sinkhole was reported, causing crews to block one lane.
A tornado watch that had been in effect for all Midlands counties has now been dropped.
Earlier, the Storm Prediction Center put part of South Carolina, including Columbia, at their high risk level for severe weather. That's the most serious level on their five stage scale.
That alert is rare: typically, the SPC only issues those for the regions of the country that have the large, supercell tornado activity, such as Oklahoma and Mississippi.
In addition to that, the tornado watch was what's known a Particularly Dangerous Situation. That term, abbreviated as a "PDS," also is a rare warning, that's only been issued a handful of times over the last 10 years in our area.
PHOTOS: Severe Weather in Columbia on April 5
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.
For the latest weather warnings, go to the WLTX SEVERE WEATHER ALERTS PAGE.
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SCHOOLS DISMISS EARLY:
Because of the threat, most school districts in the area decided to end class early
Many other public agencies also made the decision to curtail or abandon their activities for the day. One event that wasn't affected: the Darius Rucker concert for students on the University of South Carolina. After considering their options for the day, the university elected to keep it going.