Florence is officially a hurricane churning off the Eastern U.S. and the latest tracks have shifted to a bit north, but South Carolinians should continue to prepare for a major storm headed toward our shores, state officials said Sunday.
As projected paths for Florence continue to change, Gov. Henry McMaster said during an update Sunday afternoon, "What that means for us in South Carolina is that whatever happens, we’re going to have a lot of rain and a lot of wind."
State and local officials have plenty of experience preparing and responding to severe weather events like hurricanes, and McMaster says that "Team South Carolina is on the job."
At this point, county and city agencies are operating at OPCON 3 as operations were ramped up a bit on Sunday morning.
National Hurricane Center
NHC update as of Sun. Sept 9 at 11 a.m.
Columbia-based National Weather Service meteorologist John Quagliariello ("the weather man," McMaster called him) said during a press conference Sunday that Florence is expected to strengthen through Monday, becoming a major hurricane and picking up speed by evening. Right now, Florence is expected to approach the Southeast coast on Thursday, Quagliariello said, stressing that the storm’s predicted track likely can and will change.
Regardless of where Florence comes near land, its impact, including wind, rain, and storm surge, will be felt well outside the immediate area near storm’s center. Quagliariello said the storm is expected to stall once it reaches the Mid-Atlantic, which could also mean flash flooding across the area.
The National Hurricane Center will issue its next update on Florence at 5 p.m. on Sunday.