A low pressure system looking to make a name for itself as a tropical storm is predicted to bring increasing winds and churn up a rougher surf along the Carolina coast late Monday into Tuesday. A beach hazards statement issued over the weekend was replaced with a tropical storm watch Sunday night.
Tropical storm wind conditions with peak wind speeds of 20-30 miles per hour and gusts up to 50 mph are possible along the Grand Strand through Tuesday, according to the watch advisory.
“We have this system that’s trying to develop off the southeast coast and we’re watching that to see if it acquires tropical characteristics,” said Robert DiGiorgi, lead forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, N.C. If the system does turn tropical, it could become the ninth named storm in the Atlantic this year with the name of Irma.
The system has been upgraded to a 70 percent chance of formation over the next two days.
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Another advisory was issued Saturday for small water crafts.
Current forecasts call for increasing winds and rough surf along the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina in the coming week, according to the NWS.
“Prepare for the potential of limited wind impacts,” the tropical storm watch advises. The NWS is encouraging people to secure any lightweight outdoor items that could become airborne under high winds.
It looks like the system will make its closest approach to northeast South Carolina later Monday or Monday night, DiGiorgi said.
A moderate risk of rip currents and a strong longshore current were also predicted Sunday with the rough surfs churning up ocean rescues.
Horry County Fire Rescue responded to the ocean near Mineola Avenue Sunday evening for a jet ski rider in distress, according to a department tweet. One patient was rescued and brought to shore for transport to a local hospital with non life-threatening injuries, according to HCFR.
A small craft advisory remains in effect until 6 p.m. Monday with wind speeds predicted at 20 to 25 mph and seas at 4 to 6 feet higher than normal, according to the advisory.
Wind speeds of 25 to 33 knots (or 28 to 38 mph) and seas at 6 feet or greater are expected to produce hazardous wave conditions to small craft, according to the advisory. “Inexperienced mariners, especially those operating smaller vessels should avoid navigating in these conditions.”
Winds will continue to be a concern for small crafts at least into Tuesday, DiGiorgi said. If the system does acquire a name, the small craft advisory would be replaced with warnings of tropical storm hazards.
The wanna-be Irma was trying to develop off of Georgia’s coast on Sunday and chances of the low pressure system churning into a tropical or subtropical cyclone were gaining strength.
Moderate to strong rip currents and high and rough surf conditions along with rain and thunderstorms that may turn heavy across portions of the area are expected through the early week. The brisk northeast winds from the weekend may strengthen early in the new week, according to the NWS.