UPDATE: 3 killed in apparent twister near Rock Hill

Three people were killed Wednesday night after an apparent tornado swept through a rural community about five miles southwest of Rock Hill, authorities said.

York County sheriff's Lt. Mike Baker said the storm struck around 6 p.m., destroying or severely damaging up to seven homes.

Baker would not give any information about the victims, including gender or cause of death. He said five people were injured, but he didn't give their conditions.

Baker also said a search is under way for additional storm victims.

At 9:00 p.m., the National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for Berkeley, Dorchester and Charleston counties as well as much of eastern South Carolina until midnight.

 

There's a chance of tornadoes early tonight, especially farther inland as a cold front moves through the Lowcountry.

"They could bleed down toward the Lowcountry, but it's certainly not going to be a high risk. Most of (the severe weather) should stay in the Midlands," said meteorologist Bob Bright with the National Weather Service, Charleston. Most of the concern in the Lowcountry is for the inland areas of Berkeley, Colleton and Dorchester counties, he said. The worst of the weather is expected to pass through before the early hours Thursday.

The front already has touched off severe weather in Alabama and Georgia, according to AccuWeather.com. But the threat is expected to diminish as the system approaches the coast.

The storms will bring strong gusty winds, with speeds approaching 25 mph as early as this evening, Bright said. Only a little rainfall is expected.

The front also brings another blast of colder weather. After a high about 70 degrees Thursday, the overnight low is forecast to drop into the 30s and Friday's high only in the 50s, Bright said.