Confidence growing for South Carolina Irma Impacts
South Carolina residents have zeroed in on the fact that the Palmetto state finds its borders within the latest National Hurricane Center's forecast cone.
Unfortunately the cone is an often misunderstood product. The NHC's forecast cone is not an impact graphic meaning it doesn't convey any impacts from a hurricane. It represents the probable track of the center of a tropical cyclone. Users should know that hazards can occur outside of the cone and the center of the tropical cyclone can track outside of the cone one third of the time.
While it's too early to determine specific impacts, many forecast models continue to show Irma impacting South Carolina.
"The impacts are directly related to the track of Hurricane Irma," says SkyWACH Meteorologist Justin Kier. "Always remember that the Midlands are vulnerable to all overland impacts from any hurricane."
Those impacts include hurricane force winds, flooding rains, river flooding, severe storms and tornadoes.
Wednesday afternoon the Governor declared a State of Emergency for South Carolina. A State of Emergency is not an evacuation order. However, the status allows resources to be allocated and government partners to take preparedness actions.
If a hurricane threatens storm surge vulnerable areas along South Carolina's coastline, the Governor can order an evacuation for residents to travel to a point of safety. There are eight counties along the state's coastline with evacuation zones: Beaufort, Jasper, Colleton, Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester, Georgetown and Horry Counties. Generally residents living in wind vulnerable areas can also be messaged for those living in manufactured and mobile homes.
During an evacuation, lane reversals occur along planned routes. You can review evacuation routes here.
To see the evacuation zones for those counties click here.
You can also download the South Carolina Emergency Management Division's Hurricane Guide here.
In the more immediate future Hispaniola, Cuba, the Florida keys and the Florida peninsula are under a threat from Irma. Evacuations begin in the Florida keys Wednesday. Irma produced significant damage in portions of the Leeward Islands Tuesday and Wednesday.