Hurricane Florence has placed most Midlands counties under a storm watch or warning, including Richland and Lexington counties, according to the National Weather Service in Columbia.
Both a tropical storm watch and a flash flood watch have been issued for Richland County and Lexington County, among many others in the area.
Thats because Hurricane Florence, now a Category 1 storm with 90 mph winds, is expected to move very slowly west Friday toward South Carolina. The storm Friday morning was poised to make landfall near Wilmington, North Carolina.
Based on the current track of Hurricane Florence, the central Midlands are expected to get 3-6 inches of rainfall, and 25 to 35 mph winds with gusts up to 45 mph, according to NWS Columbia.
Columbia-area residents should expect to begin feeling the effects of Hurricane Florence Friday, NWS Meteorologist Jeff Linton said. The worst of the weather will hit over the weekend.
Linton said the winds will be the strongest throughout the day Saturday. Winds are projected to gradually diminish Sunday.
The tropical storm force or strong winds are expected in the central Midlands Friday night or Saturday morning, and will slowly reduce through Sunday, NWS Columbia reported, adding this will likely be a long duration event (Friday through Sunday).
In a tweet early Friday, NWS Columbia said. #Florence is still forecast to move slowly southwest along the #Carolina coast today, before turning westward and crossing into the SC #Midlands on Saturday. Life-threatening #flooding will be possible, especially in the northern Midlands and Pee Dee area.
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Millions of residents in the Carolinas are preparing for Florence as it prepares to make landfall as a Category 2 hurricane. Sioux Falls-native and O'Gorman graduate Jordan Thie is right in the middle of the storm's path in Columbia, South Carolina.
As communities along the east coast evacuate in advance of Hurricane Florence, Jordan Thie is in the path of the storm in Columbia. That's 150 miles west of Myrtle Beach.
"We're really hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. We'll deal with what comes," Thie said.
Thie works for Communities In Schools Of the Midlands. He says classes are canceled for the week at local schools and the University of South Carolina.
"We have about a million evacuees coming through here. They just want people off the road. They want people preparing and just taking care of their business before this starts to roll through," Thie said.
"I think people are worried. In 2015 we had a pretty major flood event here. People were without water for a couple weeks. A bunch of dams breached. You can kind of feel that in the air right now," Thie said.
Thie had to make several stops at local grocery stores as he tried to stock up on water this week. He says people are taking extra precautions.
"Filling their bathtub up with water so they have it and making sure they have cell phone chargers and radios if the cell phone towers get down. People are a little worried but hopeful that it won't be as bad as we're expecting," Thie said.