MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) 11:30 P.M. — Franklin has strengthened significantly since yesterday and is now a well-organized Category 1 hurricane. Winds are sustained at 85 mph and it is moving to the northwest at 8 mph.
Franklin is expected to continue to the northwest throughout the weekend and quickly strengthen before turning to the north into the workweek and then eventually out to sea. As it currently stands, winds are forecasted to reach Category 2 strength tonight or early Sunday morning and Category 3 strength Monday morning. Right now, Franklin’s peak intensity is forecasted at a Cat 4 with winds of 130 mph, making it the strongest storm of the season so far and the first major hurricane.
Forecast models are in good agreement on intensity and track; with the track expected to pass to the west of Bermuda, well off of the coast of the Carolinas. Even though the storm will be hundreds of miles offshore it is still possible this system will generate gusty conditions, rip currents, and higher surf. Offshore waves will be 7-13ft Tuesday and Wednesday.
Tropical Depression Ten has formed out of those disorganized storms from Central America. Right now the system is basically stationary, but moving southwest at 2 mph, but it is expected to hang out in the western Caribbean for the next day or so.
Beyond that, once in the Gulf of Mexico, the system will be picking up strength and speed. Currently, tropical storm watches are up for western Cuba, and tropical storm warnings are in effect for the Yucatan Peninsula. Once the system has sustained winds of 39 mph it will be designated as Tropical Storm Idalia.
Soon-to-be-Idalia is forecasted to become a Category 1 hurricane Tuesday afternoon and then make landfall in Florida Wednesday morning. The cone is quite large for Florida’s coast. The center of circulation could come ashore anywhere from Panama City to Tampa. Heavy rain, strong winds, and dangerous storm surge will come with the arrival of this storm.
From there, most models indicate the system will be moving inland through South Carolina. Since the system will be over land it is going to be weakening as it gets closer and closer to our area. Since the system is likely going to be to our west there is going to be a small tornado risk, but mainly persistent gusty winds and heavy rain. 1-3″ of rain will be possible from this system alone. Gusty winds will be able to knock out power as well as knock down trees.