Too early to know South Carolina Hurricane Irma impacts

As Hurricane Irma strengthens in the Atlantic, SkyWACH Meteorologist Justin Kier cautions that it's remain too early to know if South Carolina will be impacted by Hurricane Irma. While some forecast models show South Carolina impacts, a lot can and will change.

"There has been a lot of misinformation on social media about Hurricane Irma and its potential impacts to the United States," says Kier. "We'll begin to have a clearer picture by midweek, but you should be prepared for a tropical cyclone regardless of Irma's eventual track."

The best course of action is put together a preparedness kit and review plans with your family. You can find South Carolina specific preparedness information at the South Carolina Emergency Management Division's website. If you have friends or family that live along South Carolina's storm surge vulnerable coastline, ask them if they live in an evacuation zone.

As the Midlands learned from 2016's Hurricane Matthew and the October 2015 floods, the Midlands are vulnerable to every threat from a tropical cyclone except storm surge. That includes flooding rains, riverine flooding, tornadoes, hurricane force winds and other threats. Only South Carolina's coast, as depicted in the state's hurricane storm surge evacuation zones, are vulnerable to storm surge. South Carolina counties with storm surge evacuation zones include: Beaufort, Colleton, Jasper, Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester, Georgetown and Horry.

In it's 5:00 p.m. Monday product suite, the National Hurricane Center put out key messages that urged residents of the Florida Peninsula and the Florida Keys to carefully monitor the storm. Midlands residents with travel plans to the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba or Florida should closely monitor Irma's forecast.

Florida Governor Rick Scott has declared a State of Emergency for his state. A State of Emergency allows government officials to take preparedness actions and allocate resources to prepare for a threat.

"Looking at model data, the earliest notable impacts from Irma wouldn't be until Sunday at the earliest for South Carolina," says Kier. "There is still a lot of time to watch this and figure out where Irma will eventually track."

This is the first year that the NHC has issued operational Storm Surge Watches and Warnings. These are noteworthy products for coastal residents as water is the main killer for tropical cyclones.

SkyWACH Meteorologist Justin Kier will be live at 8:30 p.m. on the WACH Fox Facebook page to discuss Hurricane Irma

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