Tropical Storm Arthur is threatening many people’s plans for the Fourth of July weekend along the East Coast.
The National Weather Service has announced a Tropical Storm Warning along South Carolina’s Grand Strand region. The warning means winds up to 80 miles per hour could hit the area on Thursday. But most forecast models suggest the storm will pass well offshore of South Carolina, but threaten North Carolina’s Outer Banks
The warning extends from the South Santee River south of Georgetown to the North Carolina border.
Officials in Horry and Georgetown counties say they are preparing for the storm, but also say the weather should be nice on Independence Day. However, they are warning swimmers to keep an eye out for rip currents.
The South Carolina Emergency Management Division (EMD) moved to Operating Condition Four (OPCON-4) Tuesday in preparation for the tropical storm. The EMD says, while the storm’s direct impacts to the state are expected to be minimal, Arthur could create heavy rip currents for Thursday and Friday.
Horry County spokesperson Alicia Sanders said the county emergency division is keeping an eye on the storm, but is mostly warning people about the dangers of rip currents. Tropical storm conditions are possible in Horry County for the next 48 hours.
Georgetown County Public Information Officer Jackie Broach says Arthur will have passed by Friday, but people visiting the beaches should still keep in mind the coastal waters will be affected by the storm.
“Just because it looks sunny and nice outside they may tend to forget that we did just have a tropical storm pass by and the water is not necessarily that safe,” Broach said. “So it really could end up being that the rip currents prove a bigger threat than the actual tropical storm.”
Broach added that although this tropical storm won’t affect SC badly, the hurricane season has just begun.
“Even though this storm is not necessarily going to bring damaging winds and rains and things like that, we are only a month into hurricane season,” Broach said. “We still have months to go and just because this one is not posing too much of a danger it doesn’t mean the next one will not be a serious threat.”
Arthur is the first named tropical storm of the current hurricane season.
Patrick Ingraham filed this report