Hurricane Michael targeting S.C.

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By Mark Manicone

Less than a month after Hurricane Florence brought historic flooding to the eastern parts of the state, South Carolina is under threat of substantial rain from Hurricane Michael.
Late Tuesday, Oct. 9, Michael was a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds at 120 mph. The storm was 420 miles south of Panama City, Fla., moving north in the Gulf of Mexico at 12 mph.
The storm will bring hurricane-force winds to the Florida Panhandle and parts of Georgia and Alabama, making landfall around Panama City at midday Wednesday. Storm surge up to 9 feet is possible in some areas of the Panhandle. Hurricane and storm surge warnings are already in effect in those areas.
Michael is expected to move into South Carolina as a tropical storm Wednesday night, and will pass through the state Thursday. By Friday, it should be off the coast of Maryland.
Tropical-storm warnings have already been issued in the S.C. Lowcountry, with lower portions of the Midlands under a tropical-storm watch. The entire state is under a flash-flood watch.
Darren Player, Lancaster County emergency management director, said the storm’s predicted track could vary greatly at this point.
“As everyone is aware, this forecast can and probably will change over the next few days,” Player said via email. “Needless to say, eastern South Carolina and North Carolina do not need large amounts of rain as this storm is predicted to do.”
Lancaster County’s predicted rainfall totals range from 3 to 5 inches, with some locally higher totals possible throughout the Midlands.
Duke Energy anticipates power outages – some potentially lasting several days – in both Carolinas. The company said in a release that line technicians and other workers are checking equipment, supplies and inventories to ensure that adequate materials are available to make repairs and restore power outages.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is advising all dam and reservoir owners and operators to start lowering water levels in anticipation of the storm.

Follow reporter Mark Manicone on Twitter @mark_manicone or contact him at (803) 283-1152.