It has been a busy hurricane season for the Carolinas. And it is not over yet.
Although Hurricane Willa was churning through the Pacific Ocean Monday, the Category 4 storm could still bring impacts to South Carolina and North Carolina before this week is over.
The major storm is forecast to make landfall Tuesday, when it slams into Mexico’s coast, according to the National Hurricane Center. Willa is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge, wind and rainfall to Mexico.
As of late Monday, Willa had “maximum sustained winds are near 145 mph,” the NHC reported. It won’t be close to that powerful should it reaches the Carolinas. In fact, it won’t be a hurricane at all, but that does not mean it won’t affect the weather.
Willa is expected to weaken to a tropical depression by Wednesday, after it reaches Texas, according to the National Weather Service. It is predicted to continue weakening when it reaches South Carolina, then North Carolina Thursday night.
“We will experience heavy rain by Thursday night,” Hunter Coleman, a meteorologist with the NWS office in Columbia said in an interview with The State. “We will see an increase in moisture as rain associated with the storm will affect Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.”
Coleman said that the remnants of Willa will combine with another weather system moving into the Ohio Valley to bring rain and cold temperatures to the Carolinas.
The forecast temperature for Columbia is in the mid-to-low 40s to the 50s when the heavy rain falls from Thursday night into Friday afternoon, according to the NWS. Similar predictions are forecast for Charlotte, Raleigh and Greenville.
“There will be no freezing, but there will be cold rain,” Coleman said.
Temperatures are expected to be 5-to-10 degrees warmer in Charleston and the S.C. Lowcountry. But a hazardous weather outlook has been issued, as coastal flooding is possible because of the additional rainfall.
The threat of flooding exists because water levels are higher than normal after the Carolinas were hit by Hurricane Florence and then tropical storm Michael in less than a month.
In the Midlands, 1 to 2 inches of rain is possible to fall from the remnants of Willa and the other weather system.
“We’re going to see cold temperatures Friday, and then more rain on Sunday,” Coleman said.