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Matthew impacting Florida as Category 3 storm still headed to SC

Lexington County, SC - A hurricane warning is now in effect along the South Carolina coast as Hurricane Matthew begins to bash Florida. Our state’s warnings start at the Georgia/South Carolina line and continues north to the South Santee River just above the city of Charleston. A tropical storm warning is in effect for the Myrtle Beach area as well.

In addition to the warnings along the coast, a flash flood watch is now in effect for Lexington and Richland counties as well as a number of other counties across the Midlands.

The path of Matthew has shifted slightly to the west and north, which means the center of circulation may still reach land, even in Florida. Don’t forget that the track has changes frequently and can continue to do so over the next 36 to 48 hours.

It is extremely important to remember that SC is in no way out of the woods yet. Coastal communities may still see very heavy rains as the storm goes by and that coupled with a heavy storm surge may cause a great deal of flooding. The high winds that are accompanying the storm could also be devastating to our coast.

In Lexington County, we could see some flooding in low lying areas. Residents should also be prepared for downed power lines. Because our ground has already become saturated by the rains through the summer months, we may see those topple as the winds increase. This is still a potentially dangerous storm for us and should not be taken lightly.

By late Friday, the first wind and rain will begin moving into the Low Country of South Carolina. Then, the storm will slowly move north, bumping along the coastline. It is not expected to fully come ashore.

By Saturday evening, it's path will probably to turn east and move away from our coast. Some weather models being monitored show it moving back over the Atlantic and turn back south to hit the Caribbean islands again.

Some forecasters are saying that the heavy rains and a strong storm surge associated with Hurricane Matthew could swamp some of South Carolina’s coastal islands. It is predicted that the storm surge could be between 4 and 8 feet. Some experienced forecasters are saying the surge could be higher than the one we experienced during Hugo.

Lexington County might see between 1-5 inches of rain. In the Irmo Chapin area, the totals will more likely be much less. We can expect to experience some occasional gusty winds the entire day Saturday. Those could be as high as 50 miles an hour in some areas.

Keep in mind that the projected rainfall totals have changed every time the computer models update. Those totals are being adjusted regularly as the new data comes in. No one knows exactly how much rain or wind any area will get so it’s important that residents check news sources often for the updates.

This storm has been wobbling around a bit and even a small change in its track can make a great deal of difference in what impact our area will experience. The Ledger will continue to update and report on what’s happening in Lexington County throughout this time period.

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Call Paul Kirby

(803) 587-3144