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What to do when a tornado strikes, safety tips

The Midlands is at risk for severe weather Thursday afternoon, including the possibility of tornadoes.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Midlands is at risk for severe weather Thursday, including the possibility of tornadoes. 

RELATED: Severe weather, tornadoes possible Thursday in South Carolina

On Wednesday morning, the Storm Prediction Center issued a level 4 out of 5 risk for the entire South Carolina Midlands for Thursday.

According to the latest model, rain is set to begin as early as 8 a.m. on Thursday with stronger storms from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Torrential rain, frequent lightning, and damaging wind is expected with any thunderstorms on Thursday. Violent tornadoes and large hail will be scattered across the state, but we are expecting this to occur on Thursday. 

Credit: WLTX

The greatest severe risk for the South Carolina Midlands is damaging wind, with a 45% chance within 25 miles anywhere in the Midlands in the Storm Prediction Center's outlook. There is a 30% chance for hail and a 15% chance for tornadoes in any storms that develop on Thursday. Tornadic activity is most likely in the afternoon with significant tornadoes of EF2 strength (winds 111 mph) or greater possible. The next outlook for Thursday's weather from the Storm Prediction Center will come out after 1pm EDT Wednesday.  

RELATED: Severe weather chances increasing for Thursday

News19 has gathered safety trips from the South Carolina Emergency Management that could keep you safe. 

Before a Tornado

  • Be alert to changing weather conditions.
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information.
  • Look for approaching storms

Look for the following danger signs:

  • Dark, often greenish sky
  • Large hail
  • A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
  • Loud roar, similar to a freight train
  • If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.

During a Tornado

  • If you are under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately.
  • Get indoors to a pre-designated shelter area such as a basement, storm cellar or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls.
  • Shutter windows and outside doors.
  • If in a vehicle, trailer or mobile home, get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or storm shelter.
  • If unable to get indoors, lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of potential flooding and flying debris.
  • Never try to outrun a tornado in your vehicle. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.

After a Tornado

  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • Avoid downed power lines and report them to your utility company.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings.

Additional Tornado Resources