WILMINGTON, N.C. -- A strong cold front set to pass through the Pee Dee Wednesday will not do so quietly as it will bring thunderstorms and high winds. A wind advisory has been posted for the Pee Dee for Wednesday.
The forecast led at least three school districts in the area to change their schedules.
Schools in Florence District One will be dismissed early, elementary schools at 12:10 p.m. and middle and high school at 1:30 p.m.
Florence School District Two announced that Hanna-Pamplico schools would be on a half-day schedule, with dismissal at 11:30 a.m., and after-school activities would be canceled.
Florence County School District Five (Johnsonville) also announced early closings for today. The elementary school will release students at 11 a.m. and middle and high schools will let students out at 11:45 a.m.
"The primary threat is for some locations receiving damaging wind gusts to 70 mph," said meteorologist Steven Pfaff in a bulletin issued by the National Weather Service's Wilmington office Tuesday afternoon.
"A secondary risk includes the potential for one or more tornadoes, and large hail," according to the bulletin.
The confidence of forecasters is moderate that this will happen across portions of northeast South Carolina and southeast North Carolina, Pfaff wrote in the bulletin.
"The wind outside any thunderstorm activity is forecast to increase during Wednesday. Peak gusts of 40 to 50 mph could topple some trees and cause scattered power issues," according to the bulletin.
The day could start out with a few severe storms in the morning but the greatest threat posed by the weather front will be in the afternoon.
"The timing of severe weather will be coincident with school and business hours," Pfaff wrote in the bulletin. "Schools as well as other organizations and agencies are encouraged to take time today to review their severe weather safety plans and review their tornado sheltering procedures."
"Be prepared to act quickly if warnings are issued for your location," according to the bulletin.
Heavy rain will accompany the storm system and could dump between three-quarters and an inch across the Pee Dee.
Areas with poor drainage and low-lying locations are expected to flood but widespread flooding is not expected as a result of the storm.