Severe weather will likely hit Charleston starting 3 p.m.Thursday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). Damaging winds, tornadoes and hail are all possible, the agency said in a dispatch Thursday morning.

The Carolina coasts will be at risk for severe weather, per the NWS, with areas along the Grand Strand north to Cape Lookout in North Carolina are at higher risk.

Storms will likely enter South Carolina from the west around 2 p.m. and leave the Charleston area around 6 p.m., according to the agency.

Favorable conditions for tornadoes could remain west of I-95, but it’s unknown how the system will develop as it approaches Charleston, NWS said in its morning update Thursday.

“Damaging straight-line wind gusts are the primary concern, but embedded strong tornadoes and some large hail will be possible as well,” said Jared Smith, the amateur local weather guru behind the Twitter account @chswx. Analysts will be watching this afternoon to see if severe weather could weaken as it approaches the Charleston coast, Smith said, referring to NWS discussion.

In preparation for the severe weather, the following local government entities are closing early Thursday: City of Charleston (2 p.m.); Charleston County government, parks, and libraries (1 p.m.); College of Charleston; The Citadel (1 p.m.); Trident Tech (12 p.m.); Berkeley County (2 p.m.).

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