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Hurricane Zeta Cone
National Hurricane Center

It has been an abnormally busy season hurricane season in many respects: the Gulf coast is bracing for its eighth landfalling tropical storm or hurricane in a season. If Zeta landfalls as a hurricane, it would tie the Continental U.S. record of 6 landfalling hurricanes in a single season, last set in 1985 and 1886.

Zeta Cone
National Hurricane Center

Zeta is on course to be the season’s eighth landfalling tropical storm or hurricane this season along the U.S. Gulf coast Wednesday. It made landfall as a category 1 hurricane late Monday evening on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and is emerging in the southern Gulf of Mexico Tuesday morning as a tropical storm.

People outside of the South Carolina Statehouse hold silhouettes during the annual Silent Witness ceremony on October 6, 2020. The silhouettes represent those who died from domestic violence in 2019.

This episode of the South Carolina Lede for October 27, 2020, features: the voices of voters from around the state a week out from Election Day; a look at efforts to prevent domestic violence in South Carolina; the importance of getting the flu vaccine is this winter; and more.

3pm ET / 2pm CT Update:

Huricane hunters found winds up to 80 mph on their most recent pass through Zeta's center, making it the eleventh hurricane of the 2020 season. There were no other changes from the National Hurricane Center at that time, but Hurricane Watches are expected to be issued for portions of the northern Gulf Coast states in their next full advisory Monday evening.

11am ET / 10am CT Update:

The historic 2020 hurricane season continues, as yet another tropical cyclone formed in the northwest Caribbean Saturday. Tropical Depression Twenty-Eight (TD28) is forecast to strengthen over the Gulf of Mexico, possibly briefly becoming a hurricane before making yet another landfall across the north-central Gulf Coast next week.

This episode of the South Carolina Lede for October 24, 2020, features a look at the security threats facing the November 3 election, what local officials in one county are doing to prevent any issues on Election Day, a discussion on the importance of rural broadband expansion, and more.

Tropical Disturbance May Form
National Hurricane Center

An area of disturbed weather between Cuba and Jamaica has an increasing chance of developing into the season’s next tropical depression some time this weekend, increasing the flood risk across parts of South Florida.

COVID-19 Still Has Positive Effect - on Pet Adoptions

Oct 22, 2020
Perhaps the one beneficial result of the COVID 19 pandemic is that it has caused a huge increase in the adoption of pets at animal shelters throughout the state and nation.
(File photo) Neon Tommy [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Since about March, the barks and meows typically heard in animal shelters across the nation have been a lot quieter.  Why?  It's probably the one beneficial effect of the otherwise awful Coronavirus pandemic.  Beginning in the spring, animal shelters nationwide have experienced a huge increase in the number of dogs and cats being adopted.  

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) holds a rally in Columbia, SC, on October 17, 2020. Both he and Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison have ramped up in-person events with less than two weeks to go until Election Day.
Gavin Jackson/SCETV

Leading up to the 2020 election, the South Carolina Lede is keeping you up to speed on what the candidates are saying on the campaign trail in the Palmetto State with these "Trail Bites" mini-episodes.

On this edition for the week of October 22, 2020, host Gavin Jackson is joined by The State's Maayan Schechter, The Post and Courier's Jaime Lovegrove, and The Associated Press' Meg Kinnard to discuss the latest on the US Senate race between incumbent Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison, the 1st and 2nd congressional district races, and more.

Democratic Senate candidate Jaime Harrison casts his in-person absentee ballot with his son William in Columbia in October 19, 2020.
Gavin Jackson/SCETV

This episode of the South Carolina Lede for October 20, 2020, features: a look at two new grant programs to help businesses dealing with economic impacts of the pandemic; more about the economic head winds affecting one of our state’s top industries; comments from Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on South Carolina's response to the pandemic; and more.

Tropical Storm Warning in Effect for Bermuda Ahead of Hurricane Epsilon

Oct 19, 2020
National Hurricane Center

Update 5PM AST Wednesday

Epsilon was upgraded to a Category 3 hurricane late Wednesday afternoon. This is the fourth major tropical cyclone (Cat. 3 - 5) of the 2020 hurricane season.

The center of Epsilon was located 340 miles east-southeast of Bermuda Wednesday evening with maximum sustained wind speeds of 115 mph. Forward speed has decreased over the last 24-hours with the storm tracking to the northwest at 10 mph.

Epsilon is expected to shift towards the north-northwest by Thursday and make its closest approach to Bermuda where a Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect. The National Hurricane Center says that small fluctuations in intensity are possible Wednesday night and into Thursday morning with the storm gradually weakening beginning Thursday.

Epsilon is a large storm with hurricane-force winds extending outwards up to 25 miles from the center, with tropical storm-force winds spreading further, up to 450 miles. Gusty winds and hazardous coastal conditions are expected begining late Wednesday and through Thursday for parts of Bermuda. 

Update 11AM AST Wednesday

Epsilon is now a Category 1 hurricane and continuing to strengthen in the central Atlantic. The large system was located about 405 miles east-southeast of Bermuda as of Wednesday morning with maximum sustained wind speeds near 90 mph. Epsilon continues to pose no immediate threat to the United States but could bring some effects to the island of Bermuda beginning late Wednesday.

A slow west-northwestward track is expected Wednesday with a shift to the northwest anticipated overnight into Thursday, followed by a turn towards the north Thursday night. The center of Epsilon is forecast to make its closest approach to Bermuda Thursday afternoon while maintaining hurricane strength, according to the National Hurricane Center.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Bermuda where conditions are expected to deteriorate beginning Wednesday night and through late Thursday. Dangerous surf and rip currents are expected across Bermuda with these effects extending southward towards the Bahamas, the Greater Antilles, and the Leeward Islands. The National Hurricane Center says that these hazardous coastal conditions could occur along the east coast and through Atlantic Canada over the next few days as Epsilon continues to track northward. 

Update 11AM EDT Monday

Tropical Storm Epsilon has formed in the central Atlantic, 735 miles to the southeast of Bermuda. Epsilon is near stationary and will continue to be slow moving through Monday night. A slow west-northwest motion should begin on Tuesday which will contine through midweek. 

The National Hurricane Center is expecting the storm to be at or near hurricane strength as it approaches the island of Bermuda late this week. While it is too soon to determine Epsilon's track and intensity near the island, there is a risk for high winds, storm surge, and excessive rainfall. Interestes there should monitor the progression of Epsilon this week. 

This is the second time on record that the Greek alphabet letter has been used. The last time Epsilon was used was in the historic 2005 Hurricane Season where the storm formed over a month later on November 29. 

Coastal Flooding
National Weather Service

Minor coastal flooding is likely to continue for at least another day or two along Palmetto State beaches, primarily caused by a phenomenon known as the “spring tide”.

Economists continue to monitor weekly initial unemployment claims data to see how the recovery is faring.

This episode of the South Carolina Lede for October 17, 2020, features: the latest unemployment data for South Carolina and perspective from state economists on that data is telling us; insight on the Senate confirmation hearings of Judge Amy Coney Barrett in Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) Judiciary Committee; what you can do to handle pandemic-induced depression; and more.

Scott Morgan / South Carolina Public Radio

Until about 10 minutes before noon on March 30 of this year, the Chester County sheriff’s race was set to be a one-man affair.

Max Dorsey, a Republican, was running unopposed. For almost a year, he’d been serving as the interim sheriff in Chester – an appointee to the position when Gov. Henry McMaster named him to take the place of Alex Underwood who, after serving as sheriff since 2012, was brought up on a host of federal and state corruption charges in May of 2019.

FEMA Grant to Repair Flood-Wrecked Columbia Canal

Oct 15, 2020
The empty Columbia Canal has no water to feed to its hydroelectric power station, which also was damaged by the 2015 flood.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

Five years ago, the biggest flood in memory wreaked havoc on the Midlands when about 20 inches of rain fell in the area Oct. 4, 2015.  The so-called "thousand-year rain" broke dams, swelled creeks to overflowing  and flooded hundreds of homes and businesses, and some people have yet to fully recover from that event.