South Carolina continues to be in the potential path of Hurricane Irma as of the 2 p.m., update by the National Hurricane Center.
The eye of Hurricane Irma is expected to make its way into South Carolina around 2 a.m., Tuesday, according to an earlier forecast cone. The latest cone has the storm’s eye over the Upstate by 8 a.m., Tuesday.
Little changed in the latest update. The storm continues to move west-northwest near 16 mph. Hurricane Irma’s winds weakened slightly to 175 mph, but those winds still make it a powerful category 5 storm.
Conditions are favorable for Irma to maintain most of its intensity through the next three days as it approaches Florida, according to an earlier discussion by the National Hurricane Center.
South Carolina is expected to start feeling the effects of Irma – which would include periods of heavy rain that may lead to flooding, strong winds to tropical storm force or greater, and isolated tornadoes – early next week, according to the latest update from the National Weather Service in Columbia.
When, exactly, South Carolina will start feeling the effects of Irma remains unclear since there is still some uncertainty relating to when the storm will turn north. But forecasters said the storm’s effects could arrive as early as Sunday night.
“Important to remember as well that significant impacts can and will occur well away from the center of the storm and outside the cone of uncertainty,” the Columbia forecasters discussion stated. “The silver lining in all of this could be that wherever Irma tracks it should be moving at a reasonable rate of speed to limit the strongest winds and very heavy rain to a relatively short time frame.”
There is a “significant” threat of wind for areas south of Interstate 20 and east of Interstate 77. Unlike Hurricane Harvey or the storm that brought South Carolina the October 2015 flood, only moderate flooding is expected because the storm is not expected to stall over South Carolina.
Three to six inches of rain are possible, with isolated amounts of up to 10 inches on Monday and Tuesday. Forecasters, however, said it was too early to predict what areas would see the heaviest rain.
S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency for South Carolina on Wednesday to allow state agencies to coordinate their efforts in preparation of Irma’s expected arrival. He stressed that for now the declaration was just a precaution.