Update 12:30 PM Friday:
The "potential tropical cyclone" is still on track to bring much-needed rain to South Carolina. NOAA's Weather Prediction Center says widespread rainfall totals of 1 to 3 inches are forecast across the state Saturday into Saturday night.
More beneficial rain is on its way to the parched Palmetto State this weekend.
A “potential tropical cyclone” in the western Gulf of Mexico is set to become the season’s 14th named storm. It is forecast to move quickly northeastward, making landfall in the Florida Panhandle early Saturday morning according to the latest forecast from The National Hurricane Center. Its track brings the storm over South Carolina during the day on Saturday before moving off the North Carolina coast on Sunday morning.
The storm itself is not entirely “tropical”. Some of its energy is coming from the mid-latitude jet stream that is dipping southward along the Gulf coast. This is not unusual for early season and late season storms, and it means much of the wind and rain from the storm will arrive well before the center of the storm moves overhead.
The most recent model simulations show rain arriving in parts of the Lowcountry as soon as early Saturday morning, when the center of the storm is expected to move ashore in Florida. Steady to locally heavy rain is expected over much of the state during the day on Saturday. The rain will continue Saturday night and then exit the Pee Dee and Grand Strand areas Sunday morning. There is a small risk of tornadoes along the immediate coast of South Carolina during the day Saturday, but the location of the highest risk will depend on the exact track of the storm.
The heaviest rain is most likely over the Lowcountry, Pee Dee, and Grand Strand areas based on the storm’s track. NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center is forecasting anywhere from one-half inch of rain over the Upstate to as much as 2 or 3 inches over parts of the Lowcountry, Pee Dee, and Grand Strand areas. These rains will help with the drought, but not put an end to it. 9 to as much as 15 inches of rain are needed in a one-week period to end the drought in the Midlands and Upstate, where the latest Drought Monitor is showing the worst conditions.
Another cold front is expected to approach the state from the west on Tuesday. Forecasters say another good chance of rain will accompany this front.