CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The central Bahamas are experiencing strong winds and rain as Hurricane Isaias makes its way toward the U.S. coast late Friday night. Isaias is expected to approach the southeast coast of Florida on Saturday.
The latest forecast track continues to show the system come pretty close to the Lowcountry as it moves along the South Carolina coastline on Monday, however it’s still expected to weaken to a tropical storm by the time it gets to us.
Live 5 Chief Meteorologist Bill Walsh said we could be looking at a high end tropical storm with 70 mile per hour winds near the system’s center.
According to the latest forecast track, Isaias will move along the coast of Florida, and then right towards the Lowcountry as we head on into Monday night.
“But again, the closer it gets to us and the modeling continues to push it toward the South Carolina coast and the North Carolina coast, the more impact that we could see from the storm particularly late Sunday night and certainly through Monday,” Walsh said.
Effects that the Lowcountry may experience are 1 to 4 inches of rainfall, some coastal flooding because of the tides, particularly Sunday night with onshore tide, and a low tornado threat.
A high pressure ridge off the coast is continuing to keep Isaias from an eastward turn away from the coastline. But a low pressure trough moving toward the coast is expected to push that high further away from the coast, paving the way for Isaias to potentially move further east.
Officials with the National Hurricane Center say Isaias is expected to produce heavy rain and potentially life threatening flash and urban flooding, especially in low lying and poorly drained areas across Florida’s coast, and across the Carolinas to the mid-Atlantic.
The Live 5 weather team declared Monday a First Alert Weather Day to remind people to prepare for possible impacts from the hurricane.
The National Weather Service says there will be a high risk for rip currents for Georgia and South Carolina beaches on Saturday. An elevated rip current risk will likely remain into early next week as Hurricane Isaias passes by.
Gov. Henry McMaster said Friday afternoon there were no current plans to declare a state of emergency or issue any evacuation order. He said he will re-evaluate evacuation orders if the storm cuts closer to the coast.
“But right now we’re hoping this storm will not hit us hard, if it hits at all,” the governor said.
Officials with the state emergency management division said they are closely monitoring the hurricane and asked South Carolinians to prepare.
At 11 p.m. Friday, the center of Hurricane Isaias was located near latitude 23.3 North, longitude 76.4 West.
Isaias is moving toward the northwest near 15 mph, and a general northwestward motion with some decrease in forward speed is expected for the next day or so, followed by a turn toward the north-northwest by late Sunday.
On the forecast track, the center of Isaias will move near or over the Central Bahamas tonight, near or over the Northwestern Bahamas Saturday and near the east coast of the Florida peninsula Saturday afternoon through Sunday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 80 mph with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is expected through early Saturday, and Isaias is forecast to remain a hurricane for the next couple of days.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles. The minimum central pressure reported by an Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft is 987 mb.
Several areas in Florida are under hurricane warnings or watches ahead of Isaias’ approach.
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:
- Boca Raton to the Volusia/Brevard County Line, Florida
- Northwestern Bahamas
- Southeastern Bahamas
- Central Bahamas
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for:
- Hallendale Beach to south of Boca Raton, Florida
- Volusia-Brevard County Line to the Flagler/Volusia County Line
A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for:
- Jupiter Inlet to Ponte Vedre Beach, Florida
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- North of Ocean Reef to south of Boca Raton, Florida
- Lake Okeechobee
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:
- Flagler/Volusia County Line to Ponte Vedre Beach, Florida
A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area. A warning is typically issued 36 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.
A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.
A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life- threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, in the indicated locations during the next 48 hours.
A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.
A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.