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Frame The Importance of

Commercial Truck Insurance in Columbia, SC

  • Let's face it - truckers in America have always been the backbone of our great country. They still are in modern times. On any given day, thousands of trucks traverse our highways and local roads, delivering goods and products on time so that businesses and consumers have what they need to live life. And while commercial trucking can be an incredibly lucrative way to make a living and put food on the table, it can also be risky and expensive.
  • Whether you're the owner of a fleet, an independent trucker, or have a business that uses big rigs to transport goods, you need commercial trucking insurance to protect you and your client's investments, shield you from liability, and more.
  • That's where working with a reliable truck insurance agency comes into play. Unfortunately, for many commercial truck insurance providers, serving the needs of truckers is low on the proverbial totem pole. At Independence Insurance Agency, nothing could be further from the truth.

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percent The Commercial Truck

Insurance Agency in Columbia, SC You Can Trust

Much like you pride yourself on running a successful trucking business, Independence Insurance Agency prides itself on its years of experience providing truck insurance for hardworking men and women across the country. And in our experience, insurance rates for truckers are just too high - so high, in fact, that they eat away at their bottom line, making it more difficult to run a business and make a profit. Fortunately, at Independence Insurance Agency, we provide truckers the freedom they need from astronomically high insurance rates so they can stay on the road and keep driving America forward.

As one of the most trusted commercial trucking insurance agencies in the U.S., we understand the challenges that you face daily as a trucker. We also know how important it is to protect your business. That's why we go above and beyond to find you the best-priced coverage available, whether you're an operator, own a small fleet, a large fleet, or something in between.

Commercial Truck Insurance Columbia, SC

We Put Truckers First Because Others Don't

 Truck Insurance Columbia, SC

Truckers across the country choose to work with Independence Insurance Agency because we put their needs first before anything else. As experts in transportation insurance, we proudly offer a range of quality insurance products that are both practical and affordable for them. Our industry-leading carriers provide coverage that caters to the unique challenges faced by the trucking industry, ensuring that your business is protected at all times.

At our core, we are committed to finding the best possible price for your coverage without compromising the quality of service you deserve. The truth is, we understand how essential truckers are to the United States and take pride in making their insurance experience more streamlined and affordable.

One way we do so is by simplifying the insurance process. Our transportation specialists take the time to understand your specific needs and budget to tailor a comprehensive plan that works for you. You won't ever have to worry about cookie-cutter plans or uninterested agents when you work with our commercial trucking insurance agency. We take an educational approach to ensure that the entire big rig insurance process is quick, painless, and easy to understand. If there's something you don't understand, we're happy to take the time to explain. After all, the success and safety of your business are on the line.

Looking to the future, we are committed to providing innovative new products that cater to the ever-changing needs of truck drivers. As your one-stop shop for commercial trucking insurance, we are dedicated to your success, one policy at a time.

If you're a commercial trucker looking to ensure your rig, you can rest easy knowing that Independence Insurance Agency provides:

  • Affordable Trucking Insurance Plans for Any Budget
  • Exemplary Customer Service
  • Seasoned Transportation Specialists Who Customize Plans to Your Needs
  • A+ Carriers Across the Country
  • Simple, Easy Quote and Bind Process
  • Multiple Insurance Carriers Quoted to Find You the Best Rates
  • Truck Insurance for New Ventures

Call us or send us a message today to learn more about the best 18-wheeler insurance options for your trucking business.

chart The Commercial Truck

Common Types of Big Rig Truck Insurance in Columbia, SC

At Independence Insurance Agency, we offer several types of insurance coverage for local, intermediate, and long-haul trucking needs. Here are just a few categories of trucking insurance coverage that our agency offers.

As the foundation of your insurance policy, liability coverage is required by law in most states in the U.S. It provides coverage for damage or injuries caused to properties or other people if your 18-wheeler is responsible for the crash. Without liability coverage, it's almost impossible to drive a truck or run a trucking business without major legal consequences.

Having physical damage coverage is an essential component that shouldn't be overlooked. This insurance is responsible for covering the expenses related to repairing or replacing your truck in situations such as accidents, theft, vandalism, and other damaging events. By having this coverage, you can rest assured that your business won't be affected significantly by unexpected incidents, and you can continue running your operations smoothly even in challenging times.

For trucking companies, the goods they transport are crucial to their operations. To protect these goods from damage, loss, or theft while in transit, cargo insurance is essential. This coverage provides much-needed peace of mind for both you and your clients, allowing you to reimburse clients for any losses sustained while protecting your reputation and brand identity.

Non-Trucking Liability Insurance is designed to cover property damage or bodily injury that may occur during personal time when the driver/truck is not under dispatch. This coverage can be applied with or without a trailer and is added to a commercial policy as an endorsement.

While Independence Insurance Agency has built a reputation of excellence in serving the needs of truckers, we also offer general liability. Also known as Truckers General Liability, this coverage insures for bodily injuries or property damage that happen due to business activities that are NOT the cause of operating a truck. It covers accidents that occur in parking lots, rest stops, also while loading or unloading. General liability can also cover losses related to theft and vandalism. Most brokers and shippers will require this coverage to work with you.

Bobtail insurance is a type of coverage that is comparable to non-trucking liability, which is designed to offer protection when driving a truck without a trailer attached. This is commonly referred to as "bobtailing." With bobtail insurance, the tractor is covered at all times, even when it is not attached to a trailer, regardless of whether or not the truck is under dispatch.

Trailer interchange insurance is a must-have if you're involved in a trailer interchange agreement. This essential coverage offers protection for trailers owned by other parties that you're using under a contractual agreement. It covers damages caused by collisions, fire, theft, and vandalism, providing assurance to all parties involved.

Curious whether our commercial truck insurance agency in cityname, state offers additional coverage? The following options can be bound in your insurance policy:

  • Business Interruption Insurance
  • Reefer Breakdown Insurance
  • Occupational Accident with Contract Liability Insurance
  • Rental Reimbursement Insurance
  • Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Insurance
  • Towing Insurance
  • Electronics Insurance
  • Much More

Three plus 3 Safe Driving Tips to

Lower the Cost of Truck Insurance in Columbia, SC

Keeping your drivers safe on the road is crucial not only for their own well-being but also for the safety of other motorists and the financial stability of your business. The Department of Labor has identified the trucking industry as one of the most hazardous sectors in the U.S. In fact, trucking and logistics fleets are known for their high injury and fatality rates. By improving how safely your truckers drive, you can help reduce expenses related to claim payouts, accidents, and insurance premium hikes.

Whether you own a large fleet or you're the owner and operator of a single rig, keep these safe driving tips in mind to help lower your insurance costs.

Implement Preventative Maintenance Plans

Ensuring the safety of your drivers begins with the safety of their vehicles. Trucks and tractor-trailers that do not receive regular maintenance, such as oil and brake pad changes, are more likely to experience breakdowns while on the road. Telematics devices provide real-time insight into engine and odometer data, including fault codes.

This information enables your mechanics to create comprehensive preventative maintenance schedules based on mileage, history of previous breakdowns, days, and more. Additionally, they can receive immediate notifications for critical fault codes. By implementing routine maintenance and proactive repair schedules, you can ensure that your vehicles are in top condition, minimizing the likelihood of breakdowns, which can help reduce the cost of trucker insurance.

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 Trucking Insurance Columbia, SC

Practice Defensive Driving

This approach aims to mitigate the risk of fatal crashes and injuries by proactively identifying and responding to potentially dangerous situations and making informed decisions while driving. By adopting defensive driving techniques, drivers can reduce their likelihood of accidents, thereby minimizing the need for expensive repairs, claim payouts, and increased insurance premiums.

Some of the easiest ways for you or your drivers to practice safe driving include:

  • Be Wary of Blind Spots: Operating a reefer or tractor-trailer means driving high off of the ground, which can make visibility limited, especially in blind spots. To check your blind spot, look over your shoulder and out of your windows while changing lanes.
  • Be Ready for Emergencies on the Road: It's important for drivers to be ready for unexpected situations when driving, especially during long trips. They should be equipped to handle emergencies such as poor driving conditions or big rig breakdowns.
  • Use the Three-Second Rule: Truck drivers should try to maintain a three-second gap between their vehicle and the car in front of them. This means that the truck driver should reach a certain point on the road three seconds after the car in front of them has passed that same point.
  • Always Use Right and Left Turn Indicators: It's important for drivers to always use their turn signals when changing lanes or exiting highways, even if they don't see any other cars around. This is not only required by law, but it also reduces the chances of accidents occurring on the road.
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 Commercial Liability Insurance For Truckers Columbia, SC

Find Ways to Prevent Distracted Driving

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), distracted driving is the primary reason behind truck driver accidents. Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road or the steering wheel is considered distracted driving. Distractions can come in various forms, such as eating while driving or gazing at a billboard outside the window. However, the most frequent form of distracted driving is the use of cellphones, specifically texting while driving.

Assuming you or your driver's rigs are equipped with dual-facing cameras, try reviewing footage of an unsafe driving incident. Coach your drivers on ways to correct their unsafe behaviors or look up ways to do so yourself if you're the one operating the big rig. The bottom line is that when your drivers aren't distracted, they drive safer. And when they drive safer, the cost of 18-wheeler insurance in cityname, state can be reduced.

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 Commercial Truck Insurance Quote Columbia, SC

Ensuring the safety of your drivers begins with the safety of their vehicles. Trucks and tractor-trailers that do not receive regular maintenance, such as oil and brake pad changes, are more likely to experience breakdowns while on the road. Telematics devices provide real-time insight into engine and odometer data, including fault codes.

This information enables your mechanics to create comprehensive preventative maintenance schedules based on mileage, history of previous breakdowns, days, and more. Additionally, they can receive immediate notifications for critical fault codes. By implementing routine maintenance and proactive repair schedules, you can ensure that your vehicles are in top condition, minimizing the likelihood of breakdowns, which can help reduce the cost of trucker insurance.

 Low Priced Commercial Truck Insurance Columbia, SC phone Call Now

This approach aims to mitigate the risk of fatal crashes and injuries by proactively identifying and responding to potentially dangerous situations and making informed decisions while driving. By adopting defensive driving techniques, drivers can reduce their likelihood of accidents, thereby minimizing the need for expensive repairs, claim payouts, and increased insurance premiums.

Some of the easiest ways for you or your drivers to practice safe driving include:

  • Be Wary of Blind Spots: Operating a reefer or tractor-trailer means driving high off of the ground, which can make visibility limited, especially in blind spots. To check your blind spot, look over your shoulder and out of your windows while changing lanes.
  • Be Ready for Emergencies on the Road: It's important for drivers to be ready for unexpected situations when driving, especially during long trips. They should be equipped to handle emergencies such as poor driving conditions or big rig breakdowns.
  • Use the Three-Second Rule: Truck drivers should try to maintain a three-second gap between their vehicle and the car in front of them. This means that the truck driver should reach a certain point on the road three seconds after the car in front of them has passed that same point.
  • Always Use Right and Left Turn Indicators: It's important for drivers to always use their turn signals when changing lanes or exiting highways, even if they don't see any other cars around. This is not only required by law, but it also reduces the chances of accidents occurring on the road.
Commercial Truck Insurance Columbia, SC phone Call Now

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), distracted driving is the primary reason behind truck driver accidents. Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road or the steering wheel is considered distracted driving. Distractions can come in various forms, such as eating while driving or gazing at a billboard outside the window. However, the most frequent form of distracted driving is the use of cellphones, specifically texting while driving.

Assuming you or your driver's rigs are equipped with dual-facing cameras, try reviewing footage of an unsafe driving incident. Coach your drivers on ways to correct their unsafe behaviors or look up ways to do so yourself if you're the one operating the big rig. The bottom line is that when your drivers aren't distracted, they drive safer. And when they drive safer, the cost of 18-wheeler insurance in cityname, state can be reduced.

 Truck Insurance Columbia, SC phone Call Now

check light FAQs About

Independence Insurance Agency

If you're looking for a commercial trucking insurance agency for your business, chances are you have some questions - and we've got answers. Keep reading to learn more about some of the most commonly asked questions we hear from truckers like you.

Why go with a "jack of all trades" when you can work with specialists who focus exclusively on transportation insurance? We have excellent relationships with major trucking insurance carriers and, as such, can provide the best assistance and reasonable rates.

Typically, companies will look at claims that date back three years or less.

We proudly work with more than 20 carriers to provide our clients with the most advantageous options at competitive prices, catering to the needs of owner-operators and big fleets alike.

Permit filings are typically done by insurance companies on the next business day. Federal (FMCSA) filings are completed online and updated immediately, while some states may take up to three weeks to process.

Independence Insurance Agency: Committed to the Trucking Industry

There's no question about it - you've got to protect your staff, your rig, and your trucking business with insurance. But choosing the right insurance partner isn't always easy. Thankfully, with Independence Insurance Agency by your side, you can rest easy knowing you're covered no matter where the road takes you. If you're in need of a commercial truck insurance agency in Columbia, SC that caters to truckers like you, pick up the phone and contact one of our transportation specialists today. That way, you can get back on the road with confidence tomorrow.

 Trucking Insurance Columbia, SC

Latest News in Columbia, SC

South Carolina extends home dominance against No. 6 Kentucky

ReactionsLike12COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Ta'Lon Cooper scored 20 points and Jacobi Wright had 14 with four 3-pointers as South Carolina continued its h...

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COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Ta'Lon Cooper scored 20 points and Jacobi Wright had 14 with four 3-pointers as South Carolina continued its home dominance of No. 6 Kentucky with a 79-62 victory Tuesday night.

The Gamecocks (16-3, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) beat their highest-ranked opponent at home since taking down No. 1 Kentucky 68-62 14 years ago. In that game, South Carolina overcame future NBA All-Stars John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins for the victory.

In this one, the Gamecocks held the nation's top-scoring team that averaged more than 91 points to its lowest output of the season.

It's their second-largest win against Kentucky in series history, trailing only an 18-point victory in 2009, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. It also marks their first back-to-back wins over Kentucky since winning three straight against the Wildcats from 2009 to '10.

South Carolina players "have a lot of belief, a lot of belief in themselves," coach Lamont Paris said.

They also have the best defense in the SEC, which kept the high-scoring offense of Kentucky (14-4, 4-2) in check much of the contest.

"We drove it and we weren't physical enough to hold our ground," Kentucky coach John Calipari said.

Fans easily burst through the thin yellow ropes to rush the court and celebrate the latest high point in a surprising season. It should cost South Carolina a $100,000 fine from the SEC under league policy, but no one was concerned about that at the moment.

"It's never happened" before, Gamecocks senior forward Josh Gray said. "That was a great experience."

It's the third straight loss at South Carolina for the Wildcats (14-4, 4-2) and fourth in their past seven meetings in the series.

It sure didn't look like the Wildcats would struggle in this one. Kentucky hit five straight shots on the way to a 21-16 lead midway through the opening period.

But South Carolina and its SEC-leading defense kicked in after that to close the period on a 17-4 run.

The Wildcats missed nine of their final 10 shots of the period and were held to their lowest-scoring half of the season.

Antonio Reeves, Kentucky's leading scorer at 19.6 points a game, shook off a 1-for-7 first half with seven points early after halftime, and the Wildcats were within 40-38 with 15:04 to play.

But the Gamecocks took off again on a 22-6 run to open an 18-point lead with less than eight minutes left.

Kentucky could not get within single digits the rest of the way.

The sold-out crowd -- Colonial Life Arena seats 18,000 -- was encouraged to wear black. The fans, including football coach Shane Beamer, yelled and screamed as time ticked down on the victory.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.

SC to pave and improve parts of major Columbia area roads & streets in 2024. Here’s where

Driving through parts of Columbia should get a little less bumpy this year.The South Carolina Department of Transportation plans to pave and improve parts of about 34 roads and streets in 2024. The work is part of the department’s 2024 Pavement Improvement Program for the state.Some of the more major roads that will get a facelift in Columbia this year include several miles of Percival Road, Broad River Road, Farrow Road a...

Driving through parts of Columbia should get a little less bumpy this year.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation plans to pave and improve parts of about 34 roads and streets in 2024. The work is part of the department’s 2024 Pavement Improvement Program for the state.

Some of the more major roads that will get a facelift in Columbia this year include several miles of Percival Road, Broad River Road, Farrow Road and SC-277. Sections of more than a dozen smaller neighborhood streets are also on the list for pavement improvements.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation Commission last year approved $775 million to fund the program. The money was in addition to $2.8 billion already invested in pavement improvements across the state since the department’s strategic 10-year plan began. This will be the seventh year of the overall program and will add another 877 miles of roadway to the more than 8,000 miles of ongoing road work, the DOT states.

“As the fourth largest state maintained highway system in the nation, we know we face an incredible challenge to keep that network in good working order,” Secretary of Transportation Christy A. Hall, P.E. said in a press release last year. “When we implemented the Strategic 10-Year Plan in 2018, we set out to make significant improvements in the condition of pavements across the state that were in poor condition due to 30 years of deferred maintenance. I’m proud to report we are well on the way to meeting those goals.”

The road and street projects for the 2024 program were selected through a ranking process using objective and measurable criteria that align with the 10-year plan, DOT states. The ranking process also prioritizes a fair distribution of paving funds across all counties in the state.

Below is the list of all the planned pavement improvements in the Columbia area for 2024. To review 2024 road projects in the rest of the state, click here.

Major roads/primaries

Route nameBeginning mile pointEnding mile pointLength (miles)
Percival Rd.6.339.122.79
Broad River Rd.13.2815.271.99
Broad River Rd.8.729.110.39
Fort Jackson Rd.0.001.191.19
Farrow Rd.5.247.292.05
SC 2770.684.293.61

Farm to market secondaries

Route nameBeginning mile pointEnding mile pointLength (miles)
Pickens St.0.911.290.38
S. Beltline Blvd.0.002.272.27
Barnwell St.0.411.170.76
Clemson Ave.0.000.950.95
Columbia College Dr.0.001.421.42
Northwood St.0.260.540.28
Windsor Lake Blvd. 2.473.491.02
Sloan Rd.0.001.881.88
Atascadero Dr.0.331.050.72

Neighborhood streets

Route nameBeginning mile pointEnding mile pointLength (miles)
Whitaker Road0.000.120.12
Mann Rd.0.000.380.38
Aintree Dr.0.000.350.35
Margurette St.0.060.630.57
Meadow St. 0.300.400.1
Boone St.0.000.220.22
Wildwood Ave.0.000.310.31
Northwood St. 0.670.860.19
Thurmond St. 0.000.280.28
S. Chelsea Rd.0.000.270.27
Mayer St.0.000.490.49
Dubard St.0.000.630.63
Troy/Valley Rd.0.000.250.25
Pruitt Dr.0.000.340.34
Brady St. 0.000.190.19
Bethel Church Rd.0.731.490.76
Old Sloan Rd.0.000.320.32
Saramont Rd.0.000.220.22
Heidt St.0.240.330.09

For fourth time, a group of teens breaks into SC sheriff’s department property

For the third time since the end of November, a group of teenagers has been arrested after law enforcement said they broke into the same property belonging to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.On Sunday, five teenagers were arrested following a burglary at the sheriff’s department gym in the Richland Mall, Sheriff Leon Lott said in a news release.At about 2 a.m., deputies responded to the mall’s ...

For the third time since the end of November, a group of teenagers has been arrested after law enforcement said they broke into the same property belonging to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.

On Sunday, five teenagers were arrested following a burglary at the sheriff’s department gym in the Richland Mall, Sheriff Leon Lott said in a news release.

At about 2 a.m., deputies responded to the mall’s R1 CrossFit Gym at 3400 Forest Drive when a burglary alarm was activated, according to the release.

The deputies saw the teens walking down North Beltline Boulevard and detained them, the sheriff’s department said. The teens admitted to smashing a window to break into the gym, according to the release.

Three juveniles — a 17-year-old girl and two 16-year-old boys — each were charged with second-degree burglary and malicious injury to personal property, the sheriff’s department said. The minors names were not made public because of their ages.

A pair of 18-year-olds, Bryson Rhoads and Abigail Davis, also were each charged with second-degree burglary and malicious injury to personal property in addition to a charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to the release.

All five teens were taken to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center, the sheriff’s department said.

The gym has been the site of three other recent burglaries.

On Nov. 30, four others were charged after a burglary at the sheriff’s department gym at Richland Mall — Noah Twiggs and Richard West, both 19, Christopher Morris, 23, and a 17-year-old girl, the sheriff’s department said.

In that incident, deputies responded to a possible break-in and saw a “suspicious” car near a door, where the four were detained while trying to leave, according to the sheriff’s department.

Deputies discovered that the suspects, who authorities said called themselves “urban explorers,” had burglarized the workout facility and stole items, the sheriff’s department said. They had a variety of burglary tools, including flashlights, a sledgehammer, baseball ball, knife and gloves, according to the sheriff’s department.

There were other incidents in December.

Shortly after 8 p.m. on Dec. 23, deputies responded to a burglary alarm at the sheriff’s department gym where they Hannah Harder and Alexander Clement, both 17, inside on roller skates.

Both were arrested and charged with burglary, according to the sheriff’s department.

Deputies say they also found a backpack full of burglary tools, which they say belonged to one of the teens.

And in another incident in the early morning hours of Dec. 28, deputies said they were doing a property check at the same address when a burglary alarm was activated. According to the sheriff’s department, the deputies found Timothy Walden and Kyle Livingston, both 17, inside the same gym.

Deputies gave a K9 warning, and both surrendered. They were arrested and charged with burglary, the sheriff’s department said.

In total, there have been 13 people — 12 of them teenagers — arrested and charged with burglary at the location in the past 53 days.

“It’s sad young people continue to make bad decisions and break into the Sheriff’s Department gym,” Lott said in the release. “But they broke the law, and they will be held accountable as they should be.”

In a breaking news situation, facts can be unclear and the situation may still be developing. The State is trying to get important information to the public as quickly and accurately as possible. This story will be updated as more information becomes available, and some information in this story may change as the facts become clearer. Refresh this page later for more updated information.

More severe weather, including possible tornadoes, forecast for Midlands. Here’s when

More severe weather is forecast to hit the Columbia area just days after a line of powerful storms rumbled through the Midlands.A lake wind advisory was still in effect Wednesday from the previous day when...

More severe weather is forecast to hit the Columbia area just days after a line of powerful storms rumbled through the Midlands.

A lake wind advisory was still in effect Wednesday from the previous day when National Weather Service meteorologists said more powerful storms are heading toward the Columbia area.

Friday’s forecast shows another strong system will move through the area in the afternoon and last through the night, meteorologists said in a Wednesday morning briefing.

Thunderstorms are expected to form and could cause damaging winds and possibly tornadoes, according to the briefing.

While thunderstorms could begin in the morning, the greatest threat of severe weather is in the afternoon, the National Weather Service said.

Areas at the greatest risk of the severe weather threats are the southern and eastern Midlands, south of Interstate 20, according to the briefing.

Powerful winds and tornadoes could cause considerable damage to trees and branches, in addition to mobile homes, roofs and outbuildings. Vehicles would also be under siege in the case of a tornado.

Damage to trees and branches creates the possibility of downed power lines and outages.

As of Wednesday morning, more than 14,000 outages were still being reported in South Carolina.

There is 100% chance of precipitation in the Columbia area, and up to an inch of rain is possible Friday, the forecast shows. Localized amounts in other areas of the Midlands could be higher.

As was the case with the lingering effects from Tuesday’s storms, powerful winds could continue to impact the Midlands on Saturday after the next round of severe weather has moved out of the region, the National Weather Service said.

Wind gusts could reach 35 mph Wednesday, and the lake wind advisory runs through 1 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

A flood warning remains in effect through Saturday night for several rivers across South Carolina. The Congaree River, Saluda River and Wateree River are at risk for flooding, which could affect Richland, Lexington, Calhoun, Kershaw, Fairfield, Newberry, Saluda, Greenwood and Lancaster counties.

In a breaking news situation, facts can be unclear and the situation may still be developing. The State is trying to get important information to the public as quickly and accurately as possible. This story will be updated as more information becomes available, and some information in this story may change as the facts become clearer. Refresh this page later for more updated information.

This story was originally published January 10, 2024, 9:09 AM.

803-771-8435

Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State focused on breaking news, public safety and trending news. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.

Tornado watch, severe thunderstorm warning issued as dangerous weather hits Midlands

As powerful storms bear down on South Carolina Tuesday, a tornado watch was issued for the Midlands, according to the National Weather Service.A wind advisory previously went into effect at 6 a.m.The tor...

As powerful storms bear down on South Carolina Tuesday, a tornado watch was issued for the Midlands, according to the National Weather Service.

A wind advisory previously went into effect at 6 a.m.

The tornado watch is in effect until 6 p.m. in both Richland County and Lexington County, as well as Calhoun, Clarendon, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lee, Newberry, Orangeburg, Saluda and Sumter counties, the National Weather Service said.

Shortly after 1 p.m., a severe thunderstorm warning was issued for parts of Richland, Lexington, Fairfield, Newberry, Saluda, Aiken and Edgefield counties, according to the National Weather Service. The warning is in effect through 2 p.m., as a line of storms was moving at 50 mph, the National Weather Service said.

The warning was extended to 3 p.m. for Columbia, Lexington and West Columbia.

“Remain alert for a possible tornado!” The National Weather Service said. “Tornadoes can develop quickly from severe thunderstorms. If you spot a tornado go at once into the basement or small central room in a sturdy structure.”

Additionally, the National Weather Service said anybody on or near Lake Murray should move away from the water and take shelter.

This announcement came hours after a flood advisory was issued for Columbia, and flood warnings were put in place in other counties across the Midlands, according to the National Weather Service. Possible flooding of the Congaree River could impact both Richland and Lexington counties, the National Weather Service said.

The risk of flash flooding is low but possible, especially in the northern parts of the Midlands and in urban areas where drainage is poor, National Weather Service meteorologists said in a Tuesday morning briefing. There is a greater risk of river flooding beginning Wednesday, according to the briefing.

But powerful, gusty winds remain the greatest threat posed by the storms that are moving into the Columbia area, the National Weather Service said.

The storms are expected to increase in strength by the afternoon, and will remain a threat into the night, according to the briefing. The Midlands can expect the greatest impacts between noon and 6 p.m., but the effects will be present hours before and later, the National Weather Service said.

Strong winds are predicted, with powerful gusts that could reach 45 mph, according to the briefing. Some wind gusts could be enhanced by thunderstorms and might exceed 70 mph, the National Weather Service said.

At the peak of the storms, maximum sustained winds outside of the thunderstorms are predicted to be at about 30 mph in the Columbia area, according to the briefing.

Additionally, there’s the potential for a few tornadoes to be embedded within lines of storms, and a significant EF2+ tornado, with gusts as powerful as 135 mph, is possible, the National Weather Service said.

The wind advisory is in effect until at least 10 p.m., meteorologists said.

Gusty winds will blow around unsecured objects.

Powerful winds and tornadoes could cause considerable damage to trees and branches, in addition to structures including mobile homes, roofs and outbuildings. Vehicles would also be under siege in the case of a tornado.

Damage to trees and branches creates the possibility of downed power lines and outages.

As of 11:45 a.m., more than 19,000 outages were reported in South Carolina.

Meteorologists also urged drivers to use caution on Tuesday because winds this strong can make driving difficult.

This prompted most Midlands school districts to close buildings and switch to e-learning for students on Tuesday.

“If you must drive during the worst of the weather, adjust your speed and follow distance accordingly,” the South Carolina Department of Public Safety said on social media.

Strong to severe thunderstorms and heavy rainfall is also included in a hazardous weather outlook for the Columbia area.

There is a 100% chance of precipitation in Columbia, and more than an inch of rain is possible Tuesday, the forecast shows. Localized amounts in other areas of the Midlands could be higher. Previous rainfall predictions called for more precipitation to accumulate, but have since been reduced because the storms are expected to be fast moving, according to the briefing.

“Most flooding deaths occur in vehicles,” the National Weather Service said. “Never drive through a flooded roadway or around barricades. Turn around, don’t drown.”

Even after the storms move out of the area, the effects are expected to linger. Conditions on Wednesday morning and afternoon are predicted to be breezy, with wind gusts potentially exceeding 30 mph, according to the briefing.

There won’t be much time before more severe weather is expected to affect the Midlands, as the potential for powerful thunderstorms with strong winds and a 90% chance of rain is in the Friday forecast, according to the National Weather Service.

Lightning and tornadoes are equally as dangerous. Here are some lightning safety tips from the National Weather Service. By National Weather Service

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This story was originally published January 9, 2024, 8:17 AM.

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