Tropical Storm Andrea, the first named storm of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, is making landfall at this hour in Florida.
The storm is expected to move into Coastal Georgia and the Lowcountry late Thursday night or early Friday morning.
Derrec Becker, Public Information Coordinator for the State Emergency Management Division, says agency personnel are keeping a keen eye on the storm.
“It has our concern because all the types of weather that you would associate with a hurricane can potentially occur, from heavy winds which are forecasted at 60 miles an hour or higher to lots of rain which could produce a lot of flooding in many parts of the state, as well as tornadoes and other severe weather systems.”
Becker says the initial step in preparing for the arrival of Andrea is making sure that the lines of communication remain open with local emergency personnel.
“Keeping in close contact with our county emergency management directors throughout the state to make sure they are informed and that they have what they need to do their jobs. We’re getting regular updates from all the National Weather Service offices that are based in South Carolina, as well as the National Hurricane Center.”
Forecasters say heavy rains are expected to spread across the easter part of the state Thursday, with 3 to 5 inches expected in some areas. Parts of Charleston County already have seen flooding this week with as much as 7 inches of rain.
The worst flooding will likely happen during high tide, which is expected in Charleston around 7:30 p.m. Thursday and 7:30 a.m. Friday.
Becker says it is too early to tell if any evacuations have to be made, however there has already been some limited evacuations in many parts of the state due to the heavy rains that have already occurred. Becker says if more heavy rain does occur citizens must be prepared to move to higher ground.
“With the rivers so high, that it’s certainly a possibility so we want people to make sure that they have a NOAA-certified radio that is programmed for their area. That they pay attention to the local media reports, and that they make preparations now to make sure that they are ready for any potential emergency if they haven’t done so already.”
Becker says the first week of June 2013 has already been an interested weather-wise for the Palmetto state.
“We’ve had four tornadoes (and) heavy flooding. We’ve also had severe thunderstorms move through the state, and it looks like we’re going to possibly get more through Tropical Storm Andrea.”