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UPDATE: Potential Tropical Cyclone #16 will impact parts of SC starting today

Potential Tropical Cyclone #16 is expected to strengthen today and likely become Tropical Storm Ophelia soon.

Tropical Storm Warnings has been posted for areas off the central and northern South Carolina coast. The system is producing a large area of tropical-storm-force winds and will intensify further before it reaches the coast of North Carolina early Saturday.

Tropical storm conditions are expected along portions of the southeastern and mid-Atlantic U.S. coasts within the Tropical Storm Warning area through Saturday.

Although the system is forecasted to stay well offshore from South Carolina, impacts will be felt across the state. The strongest winds are expected in the warning area and eastern Pee Dee where sustained winds of 20-40 MPH and gusts over 50 MPH are possible. The rest of the state will experience winds gusts in the 20-35 MPH range today into early Saturday.

Storm surge inundations up to 2 feet are possible from Collins Creek to North Myrtle Beach starting today. Dangerous surf and rip currents are also likely. Waves nearshore will be in the 5-10 foot range but increase to possibly 10-15 feet farther out to sea. The National Weather Service is advising mariners to “alter their plans to avoid these hazardous conditions. Remain in port, seek safe harbor, alter course, and/or secure the vessel for severe conditions”.

Swells generated by this system will affect much of the U.S. east coast through the weekend.

The heaviest rainfall will remain offshore closer to the center of circulation. Rainbands will mainly push across the central and eastern parts of the state Friday afternoon into Saturday morning. Some areas may receive 1-2” of rain with higher amounts in northeast South Carolina.

Impacts from this system will start decreasing Saturday morning, but please plan around this unsettled weather until then. Make sure you have multiple ways to receive alerts and go to SCEMD to get ready to sign up for CodeRED Alerts.