May 27, 2016
Tropical system will bring rain, threat of rip currents
By IRENE NOLAN
National Hurricane Center has upgraded an area of disturbed weather
southeast of Charleston, S.C., to a tropical depression, the second
tropical cyclone of the 2016 season, and issued a tropical storm
warning for the South Carolina coast.
However, even if the depression becomes Tropical Storm Bonnie later
tonight or Saturday morning, the system is forecast to be a slow mover
that will bring mostly a threat of rain and an increased risk of rip
currents through the holiday weekend and into next week.
At 5 p.m. this afternoon, the Hurricane Center reported that the
depression was 435 miles southeast of Charleston with maximum sustained
winds of 35 mph -- just four miles short of tropical storm status --
and was moving northwest at 13 mph. The same general motion is expected
to continue for the next 24 hours with a slowdown in forward speed by
Saturday night as the system nears the South Carolina coast.
The tropical storm warning is in effect from the Savannah River north to Little River Inlet in South Carolina.
According to the National Weather Service office in Newport/Morehead
City, N.C., the latest models continue in pretty good agreement that
the weak tropical system will move slowly toward the coast south of the
area, then meander north/northeastward along the coast into early next
Eastern North Carolina, local forecasters say, can expect enhanced
chances of rain and a higher threat of rip currents through mid-week.
"Steering flow is very weak," local forecasters said this afternoon,
"and the low will likely evolve into an open wave/trough feature by
early next week."
Regardless of whether or not the system gets named, the NWS said, there
will be a "rich and deep southerly flow" that will bring the threat of
periods of heavy rain showers with localized flooding. According to the
forecast, there is a 60 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms
from Saturday afternoon through Sunday night and a 40 percent chance on
Temperatures are forecast to be uncomfortably warm and humid with highs along the Outer Banks about 80 and lows in the low 70s.
There will also be a chance for tropical cyclone-induced tornadoes later in the weekend, depending on where the system moves.
Winds are expected to remain from the southeast at 10 to 15 knots with
waves forecast to be possibly up to 6 feet over the outer central and
southern waters, subsiding to 3 to 4 feet early to midweek.
A footnote for those of you who may have forgotten: Hurricane
Alex was the first tropical cyclone of 2016. It became a named
storm unusually early -- on Jan. 13 -- and was the first tropical
system in January since 1938.
To keep up with the latest local forecast during the holiday weekend, go to the local Weather Service website at www.weather.gov/mhx/.