Lead Forecaster Daniel Crawley
Good Friday morning, we continue to monitor the latest on Hurricane Ian as it approaches the South Carolina coastline later today. After spending several days monitoring this deadly storm, its impacts to the Western Carolinas will finally arrive today.
We’re getting a first look at the visible satellite and needless to say, Ian does not look like your prototypical tropical cyclone. This storm is really hybrid in nature as the process to becoming extra-tropical has started. But DO NOT underestimate the strength of this system. It’s still something that needs to be respected. You can see a pretty good convective flare up on the north and northwest side of the center this morning. Current winds with Ian are 85 mph as of the 8 am update from the National Hurricane Center.
Mid level clouds has spread into the Western Carolinas. they will thicken as we progress through the day.
Local radar as of 8:35 am is showing the western edge of rainfall now along I-77 in North Carolina. This will continue to translate west and northwest through the morning…
Ian is expected to move north and then turn to the North-Northwest this afternoon. Landfall is expected to occur roughly near Georgetown County South Carolina as a Category 1 Hurricane. Below is the latest HRRR future radar. As Ian makes landfall, the rai and wind aspects will continue to broaden and move inland.
The entire Western Piedmont and Foothills should begin to be covered in rainfall by afternoon and it will last through tonight before tapering off by daybreak Saturday.
The wind impacts really increase as Ian makes landfall this afternoon. Here’s a look at model guidance for 4 pm and 8 pm today. Thankfully the highest winds will lie east of I-77 but still our region could see gusts in the tropical storm range.
Local Storm Overview
Rainfall: The heaviest rainfall will occur in our eastern counties (Alexander, Catawba, Lincoln) and will decrease as you go west. Amounts of 3-6 inches are possible in the east through Saturday morning. Once you get near the escarpment of the Blue Ridge, a more sharp cutoff in precipitation amounts will occur. Where exactly that falls is to be determined. Local rainfall amounts in excess of 3 inches are possible back west.
Winds: Gusty northeast winds will occur later today as Ian moves inland. Going off the guidance the winds may peak this evening. Wind gusts of 45 mph can’t be ruled out along I-77 with a slow tapering off as you go west. Also, with tropical systems, as you go up in elevation the winds naturally increases. So if you live on an east-facing ridge top along the escarpment you may experience a local wind maximum as well compared to the valleys next to you.