FIRST ALERT: Flooding rains and high winds among concerns for SC

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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

Hurricane Florence has maintained its Category 2 status Thursday afternoon as the storm is expected to make landfall in North Carolina while bringing severe weather to portions of northeastern South Carolina.  

Even though it’s been downgraded, it’s still considered an extremely dangerous and life-threatening storm with expected heavy rainfall and a high potential for flooding in South Carolina from Friday through Sunday. 

The latest update still has the category 2 storm with 105 mph winds with the system 110 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina and 165 miles east-southeast of Myrtle Beach. 

Florence is expected to be a major flood threat in South Carolina and North Carolina.  

Live 5 Chief Meteorologist Bill Walsh said that we should not focus on the fact that the storm has diminished in power, but the fact that it’s a giant and slow moving storm that’s expected to bring flooding rains and wind to the Lowcountry. 

We’re expected to see the rain and wind slightly ramp up Friday night into Saturday, it’s during this time Florence is expected to move into the northeastern regions of South Carolina after making landfall in North Carolina. 

“This isn’t going to be a coming and going storm, it’s going to stick around for a couple of days,” Walsh said. 

By Sunday, the state is still expected to feel the influence of Florence with possible tropical storm force winds in eastern and central South Carolina. 

Those effects are expected to be felt by Horry and Georgetown counties starting either late tonight or Friday morning, with the possibility of hurricane force winds. 

“Remember it was supposed to be a Category 4 but we absolutely cannot disregard this storm,” Live 5 Meteorologist Joey Sovine said.  “It’s still possible Florence stays over water, remaining strong and moving south.”

The eventual shift south into South Carolina is attributed to a big area of high pressure in the north that is keeping the hurricane to the south.

“You can see, if it rides the edge of the forecast cone, and we can’t discount that, there is a better chance this remains a hurricane,” Sovine said. “By tomorrow at this time, we should be able to tell you whether it will weaken rapidly after it heads into North Carolina or if it stays out over water and moves south closer to South Carolina.”

On Thursday afternoon, Florence was moving toward the northwest near 10 mph.

National Hurricane Center report state this general motion, accompanied by a gradual decrease in forward speed, is expected through today.

A turn toward the west- northwest and west at an even slower forward speed is expected by tonight and continuing into Friday, and a slow west-southwestward motion is forecast Friday night and Saturday.

“On the forecast track, the center of Florence will approach the coasts of North and South Carolina later today, then move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina in the hurricane warning area tonight and Friday,” NHC officials said.”A slow motion across portions of eastern South Carolina is forecast Friday night through Saturday night.”

During a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Henry McMaster said more than 300,000 people have already evacuated.

McMaster said Florence could possibly bring more rain to the state than Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

Hurricane warnings continue for Georgetown and Horry counties.

In addition, a Hurricane Watch remains in effect from Edisto Beach to Georgetown County which includes Charleston County. 


CLICK HERE to download the free Live 5 First Alert Weather app.

CLICK HERE for the Live 5 Hurricane Center.

READ MORE: How to build your Hurricane Survival Kit

READ MORE: Gov. McMaster declares State of Emergency in SC, Florence expected to be a ‘statewide event’

READ MORE: Tri-County, SCEMD operating at OPCON 3 ahead of Florence


Watches and warnings in effect

A Storm Surge Warning has been issued from the South Santee River, South Carolina to Duck, North Carolina; and Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers.

A Hurricane Warning has been issued from South Santee River, South Carolina, to Duck, North Carolina, and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

In addition, a Storm Surge Watch is in effect for Edisto Beach, South Carolina to South Santee River, South Carolina; and North of Duck, North Carolina to the North Carolina/Virginia border.

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Edisto Beach, South Carolina to South Santee River, South Carolina; and North of Duck, North Carolina to the North Carolina/Virginia border

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for north of the North Carolina/Virginia border to Cape Charles Light, Virginia; Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort; Edisto Beach, South Carolina to South Santee River, South Carolina; and north of Duck, North Carolina to the North Carolina/Virginia border.

Finally, a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for north of the North Carolina/Virginia border to Cape Charles Light, Virginia; and Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort.

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