The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Watch for Columbia County until 1 a.m. Wednesday morning.

A Tornado Watch means conditions are favorable for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms.

Tornadoes, hail up to 1.5 inches in diameter, dangerous lightning, and wind gusts of up to 80 mph are possible overnight.

Thunderstorms are expected to increase in coverage and intensity throughout the evening as a powerful upper-level system makes its way through the region.

Currently, a line of thunderstorms extends from near Austin, Texas, through the middle of the nation into Illinois, moving to the east ahead of the cold front.

The storms are expected to be in the Magnolia area sometime between 8 p.m. Tuesday and 2 a.m. Wednesday, but the forecast is subject to change.

We will update our Facebook page — www.facebook.com/bannernewsmagnolia — with local conditions and any new advisories, watches, and warnings throughout the night as they are issued by the National Weather Service.

Published: 01/29/2013