Tropical Storm Andrea bears down in SC

jholleman@thestate.comJune 6, 2013 

UPDATE: Warning issued at 6:48 a.m. by the National Weather Service:

HEAVY RAIN WILL IMPACT PORTIONS CENTRAL SOUTH CAROLINA AND THE SAVANNAH RIVER AREA OF GEORGIA THROUGH 800 AM EDT. THIS RAIN IS ASSOCIATED WITH THE TROPICAL SYSTEM ANDREA NOW MOVING NORTHEAST THROUGH EASTERN SOUTH CAROLINA. THIS RAIN WILL OCCUR MAINLY OVER THE SOUTHERN MIDLANDS AND CENTRAL SAVANNAH RIVER AREA INCLUDING THE COLUMBIA AND AUGUSTA METRO AREAS AS WELL AS ORANGEBURG AND AIKEN AND INTERSTATES 20 AND 95.

Our previous story continues below:

Unlike in the past few drought-dominated years, South Carolina doesn’t need the soaking rains Tropical Storm Andrea is expected to leave behind as it crosses the state Friday.

Andrea is expected to weaken to low tropical storm strength after making landfall in northern Florida, but the saturated clouds associated with the low pressure system were expected produce heavy rains as they zip over South Carolina late Thursday and Friday.

The forecast rainfall of 2-4 inches along the coast and in the Midlands would cause a few flash floods in the best of times. Such a storm might have been welcomed by farmers the past few summers as the state sank into drought.

But this year, many of the state’s lakes and ponds filled up during drenching rains in May. And in the past week, several wet weather systems have soaked the state even more.

According to data from the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, more than four inches of rain fell in parts of Aiken, Anderson, Edgefield and Lexington counties on Sunday. On Monday, more than two inches fell in parts of Berkeley, Charleston, Clarendon and Horry counties. On Tuesday, more than two inches fell in parts of Dorchester, Hampton and Kershaw counties. On Wednesday, more than four inches fell in parts of Barnwell, Charleston, Greenville and Hampton counties.

Basically, the entire state is saturated — before Andrea arrives. The National Weather Service issued a flood watch for almost the entire state for Thursday and Friday. The heaviest rains likely will be near the center or to its east. Forecasts call for 1-3 inches Friday from the I-20 corridor to the I-95 corridor and 2-4 inches closer to the coast.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control warned managers of small dams Thursday to check the dam structures and lower lake water levels if possible. Dam managers also should warn the owners of dams downstream if they are releasing extra water from their lakes, said John Poole, a dam safety official with DHEC.

There are 2,500 dams classified as significant or high hazard in the state, including 72 in Richland County and 30 in Lexington County. Many form ponds on farms or in subdivisions.

The National Weather Service issued a tropical storm warning for the state’s coastal counties. With the center of the system expected to be inland, storm surge shouldn’t be a major problem, but high waves and flash flooding are likely along the coast. Maximum sustained winds around 40 mph could knock limbs from trees but pose only minor threats to structures.

Andrea won’t prompt widespread coastal evacuations, but Beaufort County Emergency Management director Todd Ferguson asked people “who live in mobile homes, especially raised mobile homes, to think about relocating to a more substantial structure."

The National Weather Service has issued a tropical storm warning for Beaufort County. Flash flood warnings also have been issued for parts of coastal South Carolina and Georgia, including Beaufort County.

Those measures include moving lawn furniture and any other objects that could be hazardous with the presence of strong winds. We are also asking those who live in mobile homes, especially raised mobile homes, to think about relocating to a more substantial structure.

Isolated, small tornadoes also often are associated with tropical systems. Andrea spawned several small tornadoes in Florida as it neared shore.

In Horry and Georgetown counties, school districts decided to go ahead with Thursday night high school graduation ceremonies because the worst of the storm wasn’t expected until after midnight. In Beaufort County, school officials opted to postpone classes on Friday. Instead, the final half-day of school will be on Monday.

Charleston County delayed opening of county offices until noon on Friday.


Tropical weather videos

The State is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service