FIRST ALERT: Irma weakens to Tropical Depression, all Storm Surge and Tropical Storm Warnings discontinued

Published: Aug. 30, 2017 at 2:01 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 11, 2017 at 10:52 PM EDT
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Flooding in downtown Charleston Monday morning. (Source: Live 5 News)
Flooding in downtown Charleston Monday morning. (Source: Live 5 News)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Irma weakened to a Tropical Depression Sunday night, and all Storm Surge and Tropical Storm Warnings were discontinued.

A tornado watch remains in effect for the Tri-County until 12 a.m. on Tuesday.

The counties affected include Charleston, Dorchester, and Berkeley.

In addition, a flash flood warning is in effect until 2:15 a.m. for Charleston, Colleton, Berkeley, and Dorchester Counties.

The National Weather Service has declared a flash flood emergency for Charleston County as severe weather continues across the Lowcountry.

MOBILE USERS: Click here to watch continuing coverage of Hurricane Irma 

A Flash Flood Emergency has been issued for Charleston County. Portions of the Charleston Peninsula are being closed down and travel to the area is not advised.

A Tornado Watch has been extended until 12 a.m. Tuesday for Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties.

Flooding and structural damage was seen throughout the Lowcountry as the remnants of Hurricane Irma affected the Lowcountry with heavy rain and wind. 

The effects was felt throughout South Carolina's coast as Irma tracked west throughout Monday morning into the evening.

The downtown Charleston area was one of the hardest hit with flooding and closed streets reported throughout the day.

Viewers sent videos and pictures showing flooded streets and fallen trees.

Wind gusts created some dangerous conditions on area bridges throughout the day.

Charleston County officials issued a Condition Red Warning for high-span and exposed bridges in the county. The warning is issued when high wind speeds make travel on high-span and exposed bridges unsafe for travel.

Evacuations and School/Business Closures

Gov. Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency for South Carolina Wednesday and urged people in potentially vulnerable areas to review personal safety plans, become familiar with local evacuation zones in coastal counties and locate the nearest hurricane evacuation routes.

McMaster announced a mandatory evacuation order to go into effect for the barrier islands of Colleton, Beaufort and Jasper Counties that took effect at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Those islands include Edisto Beach in Colleton County; Dafuskie Island, Fripp Island, Harbor Island, Hunting Island and Hilton Head Island in Beaufort County; and Knowles Island and Tulifinny Island in Jasper County.

In addition a number of school districts and businesses announced closures ahead of the storm.

Irma, the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history made its first landfall in the northern Caribbean at around 1:47 a.m., the National Weather Service said.

Charleston County opened two shelters for county residents. A pet-friendly shelter was opened at 3765 Leeds Avenue in North Charleston. A second shelter was opened at 3841 Leeds Avenue.

Shortly after 10 a.m., CARTA announced it would suspend its efforts to bus people to the Charleston County shelters because of unsafe wind conditions for its buses. Anyone still in a CARTA bus at that time would be taken to the shelter and then all CARTA buses would be parked until wind speeds dropped enough to allow for safe operations.

If you have additional questions about Irma and local impacts, call our phone bank at 843-402-5566.

Irma continues to weaken as the tropical depression has maximum sustained winds at 35 mph, down from 50 mph at the 8 p.m. update.

At 11 p.m., the eye of Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 32.4 North, longitude 84.9 West, about 5 miles southeast of Columbus, Ga. and about 95 miles south of Atlanta.

Irma is moving toward the north-northwest near 16 mph and this motion is expected to continue through Tuesday.

On the forecast track, the center of Irma will continue to move over southwestern Georgia tonight and move into Alabama on Tuesday.

Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 45 mph (75 km/h) with higher gusts.

Continued weakening is forecast, and Irma is likely to become a tropical depression on Tuesday. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 415 miles (665 km) from the center.

On Monday morning, utility officials estimated that Irma left nearly 4.6 million customers without power in Florida and Georgia.

In addition to more immediate warnings and watches in South Carolina, here is a list of advisories closer to Irma.

STORM SURGE: The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water is expected to reach the following

HEIGHTS ABOVE GROUND if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide... Bonita Beach to Ochlockonee River, including Tampa Bay...1 to 3 ft South Santee River to North of Fernandina Beach...2 to 4 ft Fernandina Beach to Flagler/Volusia County line, including the St. Johns River...1 to 3 ft The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves. Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances. For information specific to your area, please see products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office.

WIND: Tropical storm conditions are expected in portions of the warning area into tonight. Rainfall: Irma is expected to produce the following rain accumulations through Wednesday: South Carolina and north-central Georgia and Alabama into the southern Appalachians...3 to 6 inches with isolated 10 inches. Northern Mississippi and southern portions of Tennessee and North Carolina...2 to 4 inches.

TORNADOES: Isolated tornadoes are possible tonight along the South Carolina coast. SURF: Swells generated by Irma are affecting the southeast coast of the United States. These swells are likely to cause life- threatening surf and rip current conditions. Please consult products from your local weather office.

A Storm Surge Warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, during the next 36 hours.

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 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 Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area in this case within 36 hours.

A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

Click here to download the free Live 5 News and First Alert Weather apps to stay updated on tropical development.

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