HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The Grand Strand remains under a Tropical Storm Warning as Andrea moves northeastward along the eastern seaboard. With the 5 a.m. update, the National Hurricane Center said Andrea is about 50 miles southwest of Charleston.
WMBF Storm Team Meteorologist Marla Branson says that dry air has started to work in on the eastern side of Tropical Storm Andrea. This means that we most likely won't see much more rain along the coast. Commuters should expect off and on rounds of showers/heavy rain through the mid-morning hours. By the time we get to noon, the rain will taper off and for the most part conditions will start to improve. However, we will have some gusty winds and dangerous surf conditions persist through the afternoon.
Highs today will be warm and muggy in the mid to low 80s, but expect even warmer conditions as he head through the weekend. Saturday and Sunday both feature a small chance for a summertime pop up storm.
To be classified as a tropical storm, a tropical system must have a defined area of circulation and sustained winds of no less than 39 miles per hour, but no more than 73 miles per hour.
As of the 5 a.m. update, sustained winds remain at 45 miles per hour and minimum pressure is at 996 millibars. Forward movement of the storm has increased to about 28 miles per hour and Andrea is moving to the northeast.
The latest forecast track generally remains the same, taking the center of the storm somewhat inland as it nears the northeast portion of South Carolina, keeping coastal areas of the region a bit to the east of the main circulation. If the forecast track proves to be true, it could result in a slightly elevated risk for isolated tornadoes along the Grand Strand and possibly as far inland as the Pee Dee.
Conway leads the rainfall category with 4.55 inches, which will increase as the storm continues. Myrtle Beach has 3.29 inches of rain in the bucket, and Florence County has .59 inches. By Friday afternoon, there may be sunshine hitting the Grand Strand. One thing to watch for on Friday afternoon will be the potential for gusty winds and strong rip currents in the ocean.
Tropical Storm Andrea officially made landfall at 5:40 p.m. Thursday in Dixie County, Florida, about 10 miles south of Steinhatchee. Andrea will move over southeastern Georgia and eastern South Carolina and North Carolina Thursday night through Friday.
A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for areas along the East coast, from Flagler Beach, Florida to Cape Charles Light, Virginia. This includes the northern portion of the eastern Florida coast, all of the Georgia coast, all of the South Carolina coast, all of the North Carolina coast, and southern portions of the Virginia coast. A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within the area, generally within 36 hours of watch issuance. Along with the Tropical Storm Warning, the National Weather Service has placed the entire WMBF viewing area under a Flood Watch until Friday afternoon.
Since a Tropical Storm Warning has been issued, that means you don't have very long to prepare for the storm before tropical storm conditions begin. You should now prepare your home for tropical storm-force winds- do not leave lawn furniture or any other light or tossable objects outside (such as flower pots, trash cans, even outdoor grills). If you have a garage, you may want to park your car in the garage when the storm is near, to protect it from any loose objects that may be tossed around by the gusty winds.
Flooding from torrential rain will be the main threat for the Carolinas, but an isolated tornado can not be ruled out.
Remember, the WMBF News Hurricane Tracker is a great tool to track tropical storms and hurricanes- you can get the latest information on the storm, see the latest watches and warnings, and even see model forecast tracks. The Hurricane Tracker can be found here: http://www.wmbfnews.com/category/208720/weather-hurricane-tracker