Forecasters say a weather system they had been watching along the Florida coast has strengthened into Tropical Storm Julia overnight, but it is expected to weaken again by the time it reaches South Carolina on Wednesday afternoon.
As of 11 a.m., Julia was situated just off the Georgia shore roughly 20 miles northeast of Brunswick, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). Maximum sustained winds were recorded at 40 miles per hour.
The storm is expected to bring rain and strong winds to South Carolina, but forecasters say they are mostly concerned about the potential for 3-6 inches of rain in the Lowcountry. They also say conditions create the potential for up to 10 inches along isolated sections of the coast and the possibility of a tornado forming. Julia’s mass is moving slowly and NWS models have it slowing over the Savannah/Hilton Head region on Wednesday. The models show it barely moving through Friday morning, when Julia’s core is expected to be in Beaufort County.
South Carolina Emergency Management Division officials have not yet upgraded their operating level, as they did when Tropical Storm Hermine moved along the state’s coast two weeks ago.
However, their focus is on the risk of flash flooding in coastal areas. They are warning drivers to stay out of moving water and not to drive into flooded areas, due to the risk of being stranded should their vehicle stall.