Tropical storm warning in effect for Lowcountry; tornado watch issued for Beaufort

Tropical storm warning in effect for Lowcountry; tornado watch issued for Beaufort
At Folly Beach on Wednesday. (Source: Anastasia Desonia)
At Folly Beach on Wednesday. (Source: Anastasia Desonia)
Source: Live 5
Source: Live 5
Source: Live 5
Source: Live 5

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A tropical storm warning remains in effect for the Lowcountry as Tropical Storm Hermine inches closer to the Florida coast late Thursday night.

A tornado watch has also been issued for Beaufort County until 8 a.m. on Friday.

Hermine was downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm early Friday morning.

The Lowcountry is currently seeing a scattering of rain which will continue into Friday morning where we expect to see some early impacts of Hermine with heavy rain and gusty winds.

The latest report on the Category 1 hurricane had the system off the Florida coast with 80 mph maximum sustained winds, and moving north-northeast at 14 mph.

Hermine is now the fourth hurricane of 2016 in the Atlantic basin.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester and Colleton counties as Hermine gains strength.

The warning will be in effect until the storm leaves the state late Friday night.

At 2 p.m. on Friday, Hermine will be approaching the Savannah River and slowly weakening to a tropical storm.

Between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., Hermine will move across South Carolina right down I-95.

At this point, the Lowcountry will be on the right side of the storm which is the most impactful side as it continues to pull away from the state.

Residents will feel the biggest impact Friday afternoon and Friday night.

We are expecting four to eight inches of rainfall, coastal flooding, high surf, rip currents, possible isolated tornadoes, some power outages, and wind gusts of up to 45 to 55 mph.

By 2 a.m. on Saturday, Hermine will be in North Carolina.

MOBILE USERS: Click here for an hour-by-hour look at what to expect.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm's top sustained winds ratcheted up from 75 mph in the afternoon to 80 mph by evening as the former tropical storm gained new fury nearing the coast.

Forecasters said the storm was expected to gain even some slight additional strength before coming ashore.

Hermine was expected to blow ashore late Thursday or early Friday along the state's Big Bend - the mostly rural and lightly populated corner where the Florida peninsula meets the Panhandle - then drop back down to a tropical storm and push into Georgia, the Carolinas and up the East Coast with the potential for drenching rain and deadly flooding.

The newly strengthened Hermine also sent heavy squalls with its outer bands over Gulf coast beaches elsewhere.

By Thursday evening, the normally wide, sugar-sand beach on Treasure Island was entirely covered in water.

Palm trees whipped in the wind.

Elsewhere along the beach, folks stood watching the abnormally large waves and took selfies as the storm approached.

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