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On low-level alert for Erika, SC wants agencies, residents to pay attention

Workers clean highway gutters as Tropical Storm Erika approaches Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic, Friday, August 28, 2015. Tropical Storm Erika began to lose steam Friday over the Dominican Republic, but it left behind a trail of destruction that included several people killed on the small eastern Caribbean island of Dominica, authorities said.
Workers clean highway gutters as Tropical Storm Erika approaches Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic, Friday, August 28, 2015. Tropical Storm Erika began to lose steam Friday over the Dominican Republic, but it left behind a trail of destruction that included several people killed on the small eastern Caribbean island of Dominica, authorities said. AP

The S.C. Emergency Management Division says it has partially activated its emergency center as officials watch Tropical Storm Erika.

Director Kim Stenson said in a statement that he hopes the storm avoids South Carolina. But he says residents should review their preparation plans, especially along the S.C. coast.

Forecasters say there is still much uncertainty with the storm’s forecast. Current projections have Erika making landfall on the southwest coast of Florida and moving inland toward South Carolina.

Emergency officials have told key S.C. agencies to be ready to respond if needed. “We need to be prepared for the possibility of storm surge, heavy winds, rain and even tornadoes next week,” Stenson said.

While partially activating its operations center, Emergency Management is operating at the second lowest of five threat conditions.

Late Friday, the National Hurricane Center said Erika is forecast to weaken Saturday and be downgraded into a tropical depression.

Chris Landsea, a meteorologist with the Hurricane Center, said Erika is an extremely disorganized storm, making it difficult for forecasters to track. It’s unclear where – or whether – it will make landfall in Florida.

There’s even a possibility the storm could dissipate into a trough of low pressure during or after its passage over the Caribbean island of Hispaniola.

Staff and Wire Reports

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