Forecasts show that Tropical Storm Elsa is going to hit South Carolina this week.
On Tuesday, Gov. Henry McMaster warned South Carolina residents to prepare for the storm before it arrives.
A tropical storm watch was issued for a portion of the coast of South Carolina and the Lowcountry — including Charleston, Colleton, Beaufort, Jasper, and Berkeley counties — where the storm is expected to have its greatest impacts, according to the state Emergency Management Division.
Elsa is also forecast to track through the Midlands, Pee Dee, and CSRA areas. They are all facing possible threats from the storm, including heavy rainfall, potential for flash flooding, gusty winds, isolated tornadoes, and an estimated storm surge of 1-2 feet.
McMaster and officials with the state Emergency Management Division are urging all South Carolinians to be ready for effects of the storm. Some steps to take includes:
▪ Bringing in lawn furniture and other loose objects, such as garbage cans, that may become hazards in high winds
▪ Checking to make sure you have all emergency supplies listed in the South Carolina Hurricane Guide, and adding items like hand sanitizer and face masks to guard against COVID-19
▪ Keeping cell phones, mobile devices, and other essential electronics fully charged in case of power outages
▪ Having multiple ways to get emergency warnings, with Wireless Emergency Alerts on cellphones, NOAA Weather Radio, and CodeRED Emergency Notifications among the options
▪ Heeding warnings issued by local public safety officials, and taking safety precautions immediately after an official alert
Excessive rainfall could begin on Wednesday night, and up to 8 inches of rain is possible in the Lowcountry, while 2-4 inches is possible in the Midlands. Higher amounts of rainfall are possible in certain areas affected by storms.
The amount of rain in the forecast has caused concern about the potential for flash flooding, especially in urban and low-lying areas, National Weather Service Meteorologist Chris Rohrbach told The State.
Residents who live in mobile homes or in flood-prone areas should consider staying elsewhere during the storm, McMaster said. Emergency shelters will open if necessary.
In the case of flash flooding, the S.C. Emergency Management Division said to move to higher ground, and do not wait to be told to move.
Additionally, do not walk through moving water. Three to six inches of moving water can make you fall.
The warning also includes avoiding driving in flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely, because you and the vehicle can be quickly swept away, the Emergency Management Division said.
If there are barricades on a road, they are there for a reason. Do not ever try to drive around or move barricades.
Officials said the S.C. Emergency Management Division is following its advice and is coordinating with state agencies to be ready to respond to Tropical Storm Elsa.
As of late Tuesday morning, the tropical storm had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, with higher gusts recorded, according to the National Hurricane Center. It was about 215 miles south of Tampa, Florida but was moving northwest at about a 10 mph clip. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles from the center, the National Hurricane Center said.
Elsa, which was previously classified as a hurricane, could regain that designation as it strengthens before making landfall in Florida on Tuesday night, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm is expected to weaken as it moves inland.
Elsa could be the second named storm of the 2021 hurricane season to impact the Palmetto State. At the end of June, Tropical Storm Danny rumbled through South Carolina.
This is a developing story, check back for updates.