“Jaw dropping” Michael became a monster category 4 hurricane with 145 mph winds overnight and is expected to get stronger Wednesday as it approaches landfall along the Florida panhandle.
Forecasters warned that residents in our apartments in Charleston, SC face tropical storm conditions Wednesday afternoon into Thursday with flooding rains and winds or gusts up to hurricane force of 74 mph — strong enough to snap trees, damage houses and make driving perilous. Isolated tornadoes are possible, particularly closer to the coast. Dangerous surf and coastal flooding is expected.
Winds closer to Charleston were expected as strong as 40 mph, gusts as strong as 50 mph.
The swath of the storm will be felt from about 8 p.m. Wednesday to 8 a.m. Friday.
Nearer to Charleston, the worst will be felt overnight Wednesday. The Charleston area could feel sustained tropical storm force winds from 40 to 50 mph and gusts near 60 mph for a brief time, if the storm continues to strengthen before landfall.
The storm could trigger flash floods, especially where soil is saturated in the wake of Hurricane Florence and other rains of recent weeks.
The National Weather Service in Charleston forecasted 3 to 5 inches of rain. But rivers have dropped below flood stage and widespread flooding isn’t expected.
What to expect in the Charleston area
Winds — Tropical storm force wind and gusts becoming more frequent into Thursday. Sustained winds of 20 to 40 mph and gusts 40 to 50 mph are possible, with the strongest winds expected near the coast. Strong winds could persist into Thursday evening, especially across southeast South Carolina.
Power — Scattered to numerous downed trees and power lines are likely which could produce power outages.
Tornadoes — Tornadoes are possible Wednesday afternoon into Thursday afternoon. A tornado watches may be issued.
Rainfall — 3-5 inches inland and 2-3 inches near the coast likely through Thursday. Localized flooding is possible, particularly near the coast, including downtown Charleston around times of high tide through Thursday.
Coastal flooding — Minor to moderate impacts during each high tide cycle through Wednesday. Major impacts are possible along the South Carolina coast around the time of the Thursday morning high tide.
Coastal hazards — Life-threatening rip currents through Thursday and high surf and elevated tides will produce some beach erosion around times of high tide.