Damaging winds possible in Myrtle Beach, cooler temperatures coming Thursday

akelley@thesunnews.comJanuary 30, 2013 

— A wind advisory covers all portions of North Carolina and South Carolina monitored by forecasters with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C.

That advisory, which includes Horry and Georgetown Counties, will remain in effect until 6 a.m. Thursday. Forecasters say south winds are expected to blow 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph.

Doug Hoehler, senior meteorologist with the NWS, said the strongest winds will hit the Grand Strand between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. with the cold front pushing through the area by daybreak Thursday.

Steve Pfaff, warning coordination meteorologist with the NWS, said the risk of severe weather is “slight” due to the approaching cold front, with the greatest impacts hitting the western portion of the state.

“The primary threat is from damaging straight line winds, followed by tornadoes and large hail,” he said, but added hail is not expected on the coast.

Pfaff said a widespread event is not expected on the Grand Strand, but that doesn’t mean damage isn’t possible.

The tornadoes that hit Alabama and Georgia Wednesday were all part of the strong cold front headed towards the Grand Strand Hoehler said.

The threat prompted school districts around Columbia to cancel after-school activities, but Hoehler said the worst of the storm is expected to stick to the western portion of the state.

“Basically I-95 and west are going to be the real prime areas,” he said. “We still can get isolated [events] east of that area towards the coast.”

For Myrtle Beach that means a lot of wind and some thunderstorms.

“We’re probably going to get for our five hours of strong wind, not associated with the storm just the winds ahead of the [cold] front,” Hoehler said. ‘You could see 20 to 30 mph winds maybe gusting to 45 mph. If [homeowners have] anything loose outside it would be a good idea to tie down or bring in the garage.”

Residents on the Grand Strand will wake up to clear skies Thursday.

“In Myrtle Beach by daybreak skies should be clearing out pretty quickly,” Hoehler said. “Winds will still be on the strong side, but not as strong as during the early part of the overnight. There should be mostly sunny skies.”

It will be a little cooler too. Temperatures topped out in the mid 60s Wednesday, but are expected to be in the mid 50s Thursday.

Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381, or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_akelley.

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