Hurricane Irma now has the entire Lowcountry under a tropical storm warning
A tropical storm warning now has been issued for the entire Lowcountry, with parts of the area also under a storm surge warning and hurricane watch as Hurricane Irma begins its northward turn.
Allendale, Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Hampton and Jasper counties are all included in the tropical storm warning issued Saturday afternoon by the National Weather Service.
All of Beaufort County, along with coastal portions of Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton and Jasper are under storm surge warnings. Beaufort, Colleton, Jasper are also under a hurricane watch.
Allendale, Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Jasper, Dorchester and Hampton counties also are under a flash flood watch until Monday.
Hurricane Irma’s eye is expected to move northwest along the west coast of Florida and into western Georgia through Tuesday, but will produce far-reaching effects regardless of where the exact center of the storm moves.
High winds will be a significant danger. Sustained Category 1 hurricane-force winds are possible near the coast northward to Edisto Beach, with sustained tropical storm-force winds possible farther north and inland.
The storm is expected to cause numerous downed trees and power lines, leading to power outages. Danger of death or injury from falling objects such as trees or electric wires outside will increase.
Winds may damage roofing, siding, porches, awnings, carports, and sheds. A few buildings may experience window, door, and garage door failures. Mobile homes likely will be damaged, especially if they are unanchored.
Unsecured lightweight objects could become dangerous projectiles.
Life-threatening inundation from storm surge is likely in vulnerable areas near the coast, mainly south of the Isle of Palms.
Water levels will produce flooding around the times of high tide, with the highest water levels expected around the Monday afternoon high tide.
Storm surge is expected along shorelines and inland near rivers and creeks, with flooding accentuated by waves. Damage to buildings, marinas, docks, boardwalks, and piers is likely.
Other impacts may include moderate to major beach erosion with heavy surf breaching dunes, and strong and numerous rip currents.
Major rainfall up to 10 inches over 36 hours is expected, leading to flash flooding and river flooding. Flood waters could cover multiple streets, roads and paved surfaces, making driving conditions dangerous.
Many road and bridge closures are possible, with some becoming weakened or washed out. Drinking water and sewer services could be negatively impacted, and hazardous materials could possibly contaminate flood waters.
Tornadoes are also possible.
Hurricane Irma as of 5:30 p.m. Saturday was located about 650 miles south of Charleston. It is a Category 3 storm with 125 mph winds, moving west-northwest at 9 mph.