MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A Tornado WATCH has been issued for all of our South Carolina viewing area until 7 am Thursday morning.
Michael has continued to weaken and is now a tropical storm. The system will race northeastward through southern Georgia and into South Carolina Thursday morning. Michael will exit the US near the Outer Banks of North Carolina by Thursday night.
The latest data from today’s forecast models indicate that Michael will still produce tropical storm force winds across much of the area along with the risk of tornadoes at times. The heaviest rainfall now looks to fall in the central and western portions of the Carolinas.
Most of the impacts from Michael will arrive from the early morning hours of Thursday into Thursday afternoon with quickly improving conditions by Thursday evening.
With Michael racing through the Carolinas, rain totals will be held down somewhat. The heaviest rain will be focused across central and western North and South Carolina. Rainfall totals near the Grand Strand have been reduced to 1 to 2 inches. Amounts of 2 to 4 inches will be possible along and west of Interstate 95. Minor road flooding may develop in areas of persistent heavy rain, but widespread flooding is not expected.
Michael will continue to weaken now that it has made landfall, however, the fast speed of the system will allow tropical storm force winds to move into the Carolinas on Thursday. Wind gusts of 30-50 will develop by mid morning on Thursday and last into early Thursday afternoon. A few gusts to 60 mph will be possible for areas along the beach. Winds of this magnitude will be capable of knocking down some trees and result in isolated power outages. Make sure to secure any outdoor items, decorations or debris to protect against these strong winds.
Major storm surge is not expected, however a strong on-shore wind will result in beach erosion and periods of minor coastal flooding. Water level rises of 1 to 2 feet are possible on Thursday. The best chance of minor coastal flooding will be near the time of high tide at 9:30 AM.
Conditions appear to be very favorable for tornadoes at times on Thursday and a tornado WATCH has been issued until 7 am Thursday. Rain bands moving through the region will likely contain heavier thunderstorms. These heavier storms will have the best chance of producing fast-moving tornadoes. The highest tornado risk will exist from early Thursday morning into early Thursday afternoon.