Winds rocked near tropical storm strength late Monday in the storm starting to swirl offshore Florida. Forecasters expected it to become Tropical Storm Arthur within a day or two. But it might just miss the Fourth of July holiday.
Computer models continued to call for the storm to turn north, then northeast and pass the Lowcountry offshore Thursday into Friday morning. Meteorologists at the National Weather Service in Charleston cautioned residents to keep an eye on it.
"It could be mainly a marine impact, but at the same time if it takes a little jog closer to the mainland we could see some outer bands of rain," said meteorologist Julie Packett, with the office.
Surf and the rip current threat are expected to pick up in the Lowcountry starting Wednesday, she said.
The storms winds were peaking at 30-35 mph when a hurricane hunter aircraft reached it Monday afternoon 110 miles off Melbourne, Fla.; tropical storm force wind are a minimum of 40 mph.
The system could easily be at tropical strength when it passes the Lowcountry, said Mark Malsik, South Carolina Climate Office severe weather liaison, but he expected it to pass far enough out to sea to keep winds of that strength well offshore of the beaches.
The chance of showers and thundershowers in the Lowcountry will be 30 percent on Wednesday, then worsen to 50 percent on Thursday, due in part to the storm, the Weather Service forecast. The holiday Friday should return to the more typical seasonal pattern of a chance of afternoon showers and thundershowers.
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