Local effect of possible tropical storm unclear

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Meteorologists and Beaufort County emergency management officials are monitoring a storm system forming off the Florida coast, but what effect it could have locally is still unclear.

The low-pressure area could bring bands of rain or rip currents to Beaufort County later this week. However, its effect here won't be clear until the storm moves north, said National Weather Service Charleston meteorologist Julie Packett.

Packett said the system is expected to meander off the Florida coast before moving north Wednesday. If it stays out to sea as it passes the South Carolina coast Thursday and Friday, its impact could be limited to rip currents for the start of the July Fourth holiday weekend, she said. If the storm moves toward land, bands of rain could be dumped on the county as it passes.

Beaufort County Emergency Management is monitoring the storm, sheriff Sgt. Robin McIntosh said.

Packett said no watches or warnings have been issued. If it develops into a tropical storm, it would be the first of the year in the Atlantic Ocean and would be named Arthur, according to the National Hurricane Center.

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