The weather system that spawned deadly tornadoes in the central states could bring tamer storms to the Lowcountry on Wednesday.
Meteorologists at the National Weather Service station in North Charleston said severe thunderstorms will be possible after 1 p.m. Tuesday, but the threat will be confined mostly to the Midlands and Upstate.
For the coastline, the greatest likelihood of storms with large hail and tornadoes will increase throughout the day on Wednesday.
"It doesn't look like a widespread event," Weather Service meteorologist Julie Packett said. "But it's definitely worth monitoring. It's a good time to be aware of the weather."
Thunderstorms with frequent lightning, hail, straight-line wind and twisters have popped up ahead of a cold front sweeping through the Midwest and Deep South. With more than a dozen deaths, Arkansas has been the hardest hit. At least one person was killed in Oklahoma.
The Storm Prediction Center, an Oklahoma facility that's part of the Weather Service, calculates the likelihood of severe storms and tornadoes.
The center pegged South Carolina's chance of such storms at "slight" for Tuesday and Wednesday. That differs from parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma, where areas of "moderate" and "high" risk were forecast before the weekend tornado outbreak there.
Forecasters will have a better idea Tuesday of the conditions Charleston-area residents should face the next day.
How much energy the system will still have when it gets to South Carolina's coast is still uncertain, the center said in a statement.
Given the moist air it contains, though, "damaging winds and at least some tornado risk appear probable" for an area from Georgia through Virginia on Wednesday, the center said.
Sunshine could boost the storms' severity, Packett said. Meteorologists anticipate mostly cloudy skies that day in Charleston.
Wednesday night seems to be the most critical time for the Lowcountry, she said.
"It shouldn't trend as strong in this area," Packett said. "But we can't rule out the chance for an isolated tornado."
She urged residents to stay tuned to local radio and television stations for weather alerts. The Weather Service will issue a tornado watch Wednesday if the atmosphere is conducive to twisters, then a tornado warning if forecasters spot storms capable of spitting one out.
It's also a good time to brush up on emergency procedures.
During a tornado warning, people should generally avoid windows and take cover in a small room near the center of a building's lowest floor. Closets under a stairwell or a bath tub, for example, could offer protection.
People in mobile homes should leave and get to a fixed building nearby before a tornado arrives.
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.
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