Hurricane Michael forms in the western Caribbean, takes aim at Florida’s Panhandle
Nearly a month after Hurricane Florence created unprecedented flooding, the Grand Strand is in another storm’s path.
Hurricane Michael — which was upgraded from tropical storm Monday — is in the Gulf of Mexico and expected to hit the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday. The effects of the storm will reach Horry County most likely on Wednesday or Thursday of this week.
Predictions from the National Weather Service say the area can expect 2 to 4 inches of rain and it has a good chance of seeing tropical storm wind speeds. There is also a threat of tornadoes, especially if the storm moves to the west of Myrtle Beach.
Once the storm moves onto land, it will start to slow down and will most likely be significantly weaker than it is now, Steve Pfaff, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, said.
Pfaff said the storm is still worth noting, as it will bring high winds and heavy rains to an area still recovering from the last storm.
The ground is already saturated due to the record-breaking flooding. Pfaff said this rain could cause flash flooding and even raise the river levels slightly.
Hurricane Michael will also create conditions for a tornado to potentially form. Pfaff said this risk is higher if the storm moves west of the area.
The winds are a primary concern. Florence left much of Horry County’s natural resources damaged. Pfaff said that even if a tree did not fall in the last storm, it could be at a higher risk of falling this time. Also, there could be some storm surge from Michael, hitting already damaged beaches, Pfaff said.
The City of North Myrtle Beach sent out a press release on Monday asking residents to monitor the storm as it gets closer to the area. Pfaff said people should monitor the storm and identify any weak trees or infrastructure that could lead to debris in Michael’s wake.
“Just monitor the situation and expect some impacts,” Pfaff said.
More information on the specific impacts of Hurricane Michael will be available as the storm gets closer to Horry.