Hermine has strengthened to a hurricane and is on track to head straight through the Lowcountry, according to the National Hurricane Center.
As of Thursday afternoon, Hurricane Hermine was churning toward Florida, located about 165 miles west of Tampa Bay, Fla. Latest models predict the storm will head straight toward South Carolina and should hit Beaufort County sometime Friday.
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“Typically these storms lose strength once they hit land, so the (Beaufort County) area shouldn’t expect anything above tropical storm conditions,” said James Carpenter, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston.
The National Weather Service has issued a tropical storm warning for Beaufort and Jasper counties through Friday. Starting Friday morning, Beaufort and Jasper counties will be in a flash flood watch.
The storm was expected to head northeast through northern Florida and into Georgia by late Thursday night and early Friday. Hermine then was expected to spread north and eastward into South Carolina.
Continuing through Friday night, there is a high chance for showers, thunderstorms and heavy winds in Beaufort County. Beaufort County is predicted to get 4 to 8 inches of rain from the storm. Wind speeds could hit up 55 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
According to the NWS statement, the Lowcountry should prepare for:
▪ Moderate flooding that may prompt evacuations and rescues.
▪ Dangerous winds strong enough to uproot trees and damage homes.
▪ Isolated tornadoes that could bring power outages.
▪ Locally hazardous surge that could damage marinas, docks and boardwalks.
▪ Life-threatening rip currents.
▪ Possible beach erosion.
“Whenever you see strong storm cells like this, there’s an elevated risk for isolated tornadoes,” Carpenter said. “We could also see strong wind gusts of 45 to 55 mph.”
Carpenter said Beaufort County should see flooding only from fresh water in low-lying, flood-prone areas.
“We’re expecting at best 1 to 2 feet of surge,” Carpenter said.
The storm could also bring dangerous rip currents to the Lowcountry. Carpenter said the Lowcountry should expect rough surf throughout the weekend.
The good news, however, is the storm should clear the area by late Friday night, just in time for Labor Day weekend.
“It looks like we’ll see a drying trend into the weekend with a low chance of rain and highs in the upper 80s,” Carpenter said. “The storm could shift, though, so anyone in the area needs to keep a close eye on the weather.”
A chance of showers and thunderstorms, then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm after 1 p.m. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 86. Southwest wind 7 to 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60 percent. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.
Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. Low around 75. Southeast wind 7 to 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80 percent. New rainfall amounts between 1 and 2 inches possible.
Tropical storm conditions expected. Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. High near 82. Southeast wind 15 to 20 mph increasing to 33 to 43 mph. Winds could gust as high as 55 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100 perhaps. New rainfall amounts between 3 and 4 inches possible.
Tropical storm conditions possible. A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 71. Southwest wind 26 to 31 mph decreasing to 16 to 21 mph. Winds could gust as high as 41 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50 percent. New rainfall amounts between three quarters and one inch possible.
Partly sunny, with a high near 84. Northwest wind 7 to 11 mph.
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 71.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 85.
Partly cloudy, with a low around 73.
Sunny, with a high near 86.
Source: National Weather Service