August 20, 2014

Tropical Storm Warning now in effect along Grand Strand

Storm's predicted path (Image: NWS)

Storm’s predicted path
(Image: NWS)

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

State emergency officials keep eye on Tropical Storm Arthur

The projected route of Tropical Storm Arthur (National Weather Service)

The projected route of Tropical Storm Arthur (National Weather Service)

The South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) said Tuesday that it is monitoring Tropical Storm Arthur, although forecasters believe the storm’s center will stay offshore when it passes the Palmetto State.

SCEMD increased its state of operational readiness to Condition 4 (OPCON) Tuesday evening. OpCon4 is the second lowest of five operational conditions. Personnel representing key state response agencies were notified to review plans and procedures and are on-call if needed.

Arthur, the 2014 season’s first named storm, was recorded with maximum sustained winds of 45 knots, according the National Weather Service. The National Hurricane Center predicts Arthur will upgrade to a hurricane by the time it passes South Carolina on Thursday, but most forecasts have the storm’s center remaining a few hundred miles off the coast.

The Grand Strand is expected to receive rain and possible storm surges, but should avoid the hurricane itself. Forecasters are warning that winds could be at least 70 miles per hour by the time the storm reaches the Outer Banks.

Emergency Management officials are warning coastal residents potentially vulnerable areas to consider any actions they would need to take if the storm does shift course and threaten South Carolina. The public, especially those living in low-lying areas along the coast, can monitor the storm on NOAA weather radio.

Friday’s weather

Muggy with scattered afternoon thunderstorms Friday with highs around 90. A few lingering showers will be possible overnight with lows in the mid 60s to lower 70s.  Some scattered showers and thunderstorms will be possible for Father’s Day weekend, mainly in the afternoons, highs both Saturday and Sunday in the upper 80s to lower 90s.

Thursday’s weather

Partly cloudy with scattered thunderstorms on Thursday in South Carolina, highs from the mid to the upper 80s.

Overnight, there could be a few leftover showers, otherwise partly cloudy with lows in the mid 60s to lower 70s.


Wednesday’s weather

Steamy on Wednesday in South Carolina, a good chance for showers and thunderstorms, highs a few degrees either side of 90.

Overnight, there still may be some lingering showers, lows will bottom off from the upper 60s to the lower 70s.