MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Tropical Storm Nicole made landfall in Florida near Vero Beach early this morning as a Category 1 Hurricane. This is only the third time since 1851 that Florida has been hit by a hurricane in November.
Nicole has weakened to a tropical storm and is expected to continue to weaken before moving into the Carolinas on Friday as a tropical depression. The center is expected to move through the Upstate of South Carolina.
The main story in our viewing area is going to be rain, but neither flash flooding nor river flooding is expected. This is due to the fact that most of our viewing area is in a drought and soil moisture is only at 5-10%. Drought conditions have worsened and moderate drought (level 2/5) is now observed in our counties west of I-95. Therefore, the ground will be able to absorb a lot of rain.
Light showers began this morning and will last through the afternoon. The evening commute doesn’t look too bad, but scattered showers are expected. The best chance for widespread rain is after sunset into the overnight hours. All of the rain looks to be gone by Friday evening.
No flooding is expected. There would need to be 5 to 7 inches of rain to produce flash flooding, and no models are indicating anywhere near that much rain. The highest totals are roughly 1.5″-2.5″.
There is not an excessive rainfall outlook for today or tomorrow, but there is a severe outlook. The entire viewing area is in a level 2/5 for severe weather, which is a “slight” risk. There is not a hail threat, and gusty winds are expected, but only infrequent gusts of 40 mph or so. Quick, spinup tornadoes are going to be the reason for the severe weather.
With any landfalling tropical system, the tornado risk is going to be highest on the right, front side of the system, which will be our viewing area if Nicole moves up through the Upstate, and models are confident that will be the case.
There is not a storm-surge warning or watch in place for coastal Horry County, but there is a high surf advisory and a coastal flood warning from 6 a.m. until noon today. Coastal inundation up to 2′ is going to be possible along with some beach erosion, primarily at high tide.