PICKENS COUNTY — Just a short time after the Upstate dodged a bullet with Hurricane Florence, Mother Nature decided to send another reminder that we are not out of hurricane season just yet …
Enter Hurricane Michael.
On Monday, Mark Malsick with the S.C. State Climate Office, said then-Tropical Storm Michael had formed on Sunday and was tracking north at 7 mph with 70 mph winds.
“North not good,” stated Malsick on Monday. “Michael will soon be over deep, warm GoMex (Gulf of Mexico) waters that will support continued rapid intensification. Michael will soon become a hurricane as soon as lunch today. The storm has rapidly intensified overnight already and will continue to intensify during the next 48 hours becoming a 110 mph hurricane before landfall Thursday on the Florida Panhandle near Apalachicola. Don’t go there.”
Going off the models, Malsick said a deep trough over the Midwest would guide a weakened Michael over S.C. starting late afternoon Thursday and during the day Friday.
“Michael’s effects in S.C. will be highly track dependent,” he said. “Based on the current forecast track that takes the center of Michael just south of the I-20 corridor across the state, Michael paints a stripe of 4-10 inches of rain across the state south of I-20 (with) 2-4 inches for the Upstate.
“Eastern Carolina could see 4-6 inches of rain they do not need,” he said.
Malsick stated we could expect maximum sustained winds 30-45 mph over S.C., again south of I-20 abating during the day Friday.
“A gentle reminder that the leading right quadrant contains the most shear and is notorious for producing tornadoes,” he said.
On Tuesday, Malisck had a message for Michael: “Red sky at morning, sailor take something, something … Just turn starboard. (It’s been a while),” he joked.
As of yesterday morning Hurricane Michael was 525 SSW of Beaufort with 100 mph winds. He was tracking north at 12 mph for a Wednesday landfall on the Florida Panhandle with a serious smack of 120 mph winds.
“Michael has continued to slowly intensify over deep, warm GoMex waters and has developed a well-organized eyewall complex,” said Malsick. “Michael continues to deepen today.”
The good news is that after landfall, Michael is expected to weaken rapidly while accelerating to the northeast.
Hurricane Michael is expected to clear the S.C./N.C. border by lunch on Friday, said Malsick.
In the meantime, outer rainbands from Michael already soaked the Florida Keys Monday. A wind gust to 55 mph was measured at the National Weather Service office in Key West, Florida, late Monday afternoon in association with Hurricane Michael’s outer rainbands.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.