Hurricane Sally is expected to make a turn toward South Carolina and dump heavy rainfall over portions of the state on Thursday with an increasing risk of flash flooding.
As of early Wednesday morning, Sally is nearing landfall near the Alabama Gulf coast as a category 2 hurricane, with the eyewall extending into the western Florida Panhandle. Sally's winds are forecast to weaken as it moves farther inland Wednesday afternoon; however, torrential rain is expected to make it into South Carolina on Thursday.
The heaviest rain is forecast over the Upstate region, where the National Weather Service has posted Flash Flood Watches. Rainfall amounts of 4 to 6 inches, with local amounts up to 9 inches in the heaviest rain bands, are expected according to the Weather Service in Greenville. Rainfall amounts of 1 to 3 inches may also cause pockets of flash flooding over the rest of the state and there may be locally higher amounts in areas where persistent rain bands set up.
Brief, isolated tornadoes are possible statewide, especially on Thursday afternoon, during peak daytime heating. Gusty winds are also forecast, but the latest forecast keeps the chances of sustained tropical storm force winds at less than 20 percent over the Palmetto State.
Coastal flooding and high rip currents are expected along the coastline the next few days, but these hazards are not directly from Sally. The new moon phase, perigee, and persistent onshore flow had been causing these conditions for several days now, forecasters said.
A few rain bands may last over the state on Friday, but the remnant of Sally is forecast to move offshore by the time the weekend begins.