In a drastic swing from beautiful sunshine to dreary rain, Aiken County residents should expect a strong chance of thunderstorms and potentially high winds today, according to the National Weather Service in Columbia.


On Thursday, Aiken basked in sunshine and 80-degree temperatures, but forecaster Jeff Linton said there is close to a 100 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms today.


“It's going to be a high in the mid 60s, but it looks like the chance of rain will be higher earlier in the day,” Linton said. “It will be mainly before 1 p.m. and then tomorrow (Friday) night should be clear and low around 38 degrees.”


Winds can be a great risk during storms, causing power outages or fallen tree limbs. Today calls for winds at about 16 mph.


Late February tends to be the month for tornadoes, and many areas in the Southeast, including Atlanta, are currently experiencing threats. However, Aiken should not be one of the areas of concern, Linton said.


“It's always a possibility, but the chance in that area isn't that high,” Linton said. “It's more north and east of Aiken.”


Despite the rain, weather in and around Aiken should clear up by the weekend. Saturday's weather forecast calls for partly cloudy skies, with a high in the upper 60s and a low in the mid 40s with a 10 percent chance of rain. Sunday's forecast calls for few showers with a high in the low 70s, a low in the high 40s with a 30 percent chance of rain.


Monday will jump back down into the 60s as the weather forecast calls for partly cloudy skies and a 20 percent chance of rain.


The drop in temperature isn't all that odd, according to Linton. Toward springtime, the weather tends to exhibit large variations, he said.


“Around here anything can happen, such as 80 degree weather in the middle of winter,” Linton said. “It just depends on the weather pattern ... but the main forecast for tomorrow (Friday) is rain, mainly early in the day.”


Maayan Schechter is the City reporter with Aiken Standard. An Atlanta native, she has a mass communications-journalism degree from the University of North Carolina Asheville.