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Florence now a tropical storm. Thunderstorms forecast for Beaufort Co., experts say

11 p.m. update: Hurricane Florence weakened to a tropical storm as it moved inland Friday after slamming into North Carolina coast early in the morning. Its projected path appears to steer clear of Beaufort County, South Carolina, according to the latest forecast.

As of Friday night, forecasters expected less rain, more moderate wind speeds and a decreased possibility of flooding in the area than earlier forecasts.

Beaufort County could receive up to 1 inch of rainfall through Monday afternoon — possibly more in certain areas from particular rain bands, said Ron Morales, a warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston. Winds might reach more than 30 mph, but will probably be 25-30 mph during the worst locally, he said.

“Right now you guys look to be in pretty good shape,” Morales said.

The worst conditions locally are expected from late Friday afternoon through Saturday night, according to the National Weather Service in Charleston.

Florence is expected to move inland then drift to the west through the Pee Dee and Midlands this weekend, weakening as it goes, until eventually curving and heading north, as of the 11 p.m.. report from the Charleston meteorologists.

The tropical storm storm remained large in size Friday, so Beaufort County could still see rain and winds, meteorologists said.

No tropical storm watch has been issued for Beaufort County.

A storm surge watch, hurricane watch and tropical storm warning start at Edisto Beach and stretch north to the Santee River area, according to the latest National Hurricane Center update.

As of 11 p.m. Friday, Hurricane Florence was 15 miles northwest of Myrtle Beach and moving west at 5 mph.

On Friday, conditions were very calm on Hilton Head Island with sunny skies and a slight breeze. Beaches were nearly empty as it appears most tourists had evacuated earlier in the week. In northern Beaufort County on Friday afternoon, beachgoers walked along the surf in Hunting Island and a family flew a kite.

There is a 20 percent chance of rain in Beaufort County Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

A chance of rain and thunderstorms are predicted through the weekend and wind gusts up to 29 mph Saturday night, according to the Weather Service forecast.

Follow more of our reporting on Hurricane Florence

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