FIRST ALERT: Ian downgraded to a tropical storm, continues to lash Carolinas with rain, wind
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Hurricane Ian made landfall near Georgetown as a Category One hurricane at around 2:05 p.m. Friday.
At 5 p.m. EDT, the center of Post-Tropical Cyclone Ian was located near latitude 33.9 North, longitude 79.2 West. The post-tropical cyclone is moving toward the north near 15 mph (24 km/h). Ian is forecast to move farther inland overnight over eastern South Carolina, move across central North Carolina early tomorrow and western Virginia by early Sunday.
Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 70 mph (110 km/h) with higher gusts. These winds are occurring primarily over water. Ian should continue to weaken overnight and dissipate over western North Carolina or Virginia late tomorrow.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 205 miles (335 km) from the center. A WeatherFlow station at Oak Island, North Carolina recently reported sustained winds of 54 mph (87 km/h) with a gust to 78 mph (126 km/h).
The estimated minimum central pressure is 982 mb (29.00 inches) based on surface observations.
Tropical storm force winds over 40 mph are likely across the entire area on Friday. Gusts of 50 to 60 mph will be common inland. Gusts of 60 to 70 mph are likely across the beaches with a chance of a few isolated gusts to hurricane force in the most intense bands. A HURRICANE WARNING remains in place for the Grand Strand with TROPICAL STORM WARNINGS ELSEWHERE.
A FLASH FLOOD WATCH is now in effect for the entire area. Lighter rain is likely to begin this evening and turn heavier through tonight and during the day on Friday. By Friday morning through Friday night, bands of heavy rain and thunderstorms will rotate in off the Atlantic. These bands will be capable of dropping locally very heavy rain at times. The rainfall forecast now shows an average of 4 to 6 inches now expected along the Grand Strand with 3 to 5 inches likely for most inland areas. While major river flooding is not expected from this rainfall, flash flooding could develop during the heaviest downpours.
The best risk of hurricane force gusts of 75 mph or higher will be along the immediate beaches of the Grand Strand down through coastal Georgetown County. Prepare now for the likelihood of power outages. The strongest winds arrive from midday through the mid to late afternoon.
As we often see with the remnants of tropical storms and hurricanes, the risk of isolated tornadoes will likely develop by Friday afternoon and evening.
Bands of thunderstorms rotating onshore from the Atlantic will have the ability to rotate and produce an isolated tornado or two at times. The most likely time frame is from Friday afternoon into Friday evening before the risk quickly shuts down early Saturday morning.
Strong onshore winds will result in a storm surge at times and coastal flooding will be likely at times of high tide from Thursday through Friday. Minor coastal flooding will be possible on Thursday well ahead of Ian. The highest water level rises will likely happen on Friday when the strongest onshore will develop. Flooded streets are likely in the areas prone to coastal flooding from Cherry Grove to Garden City Pawleys Island and Murrells Inlet.
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