Orangeburg County schools may close early Thursday because of the potential for strong to severe thunderstorms, damaging winds and flooding.
Orangeburg County Assistant Emergency Services Director Chris Murdaugh said the department is keeping an eye on the weather.
"It is a wait and see," Murdaugh said.
He encourages county residents to be aware of the weather in the coming days.
"Keep a close eye on the weather and heed the watches and warnings that come out from the weather service," Murdaugh said.
A hazardous weather outlook was issued Wednesday afternoon for the area. As the storm system moves closer, severe thunderstorm watches and warnings could be posted.
The most significant threat is expected to be damaging winds, according to the National Weather Service. There is also a slight chance of tornadoes.
The forecast for Orangeburg is calling for an 80 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms Thursday with new rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.
The worst part of the storm is forecast to be in the area from about 12 p.m. Thursday to 12 a.m. Friday.
Peak wind gusts of about 36 mph are forecast to occur between noon and 5 p.m.
A 90 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms are forecast for Thursday night with an additional 1 inch to 2 inches possible.
Winds could gust as high as 34 mph.
Heavy rainfall and localized flooding will also be possible, though the risk for flooding in The T&D Region is considered slight, according to the NWS.
The Orangeburg County School District announced via Facebook that administrators are monitoring the weather forecast.
“High winds may cause unsafe travel conditions for school buses as well as our employees, parents and student drivers. This may prompt an early dismissal for Thursday. No decision has been made at this time,” the district announced Wednesday afternoon.
The district says it will notify parents online, through the media and by phone of any changes.
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