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Hurricane Sally expected to push wet weather into Lowcountry

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Hurricane Sally expected to push wet weather into Lowcountry

Weather forecasters are calling for several days of rain showers as Hurricane Sally pushes up from the Golf Coast.

Up to a half an inch is expected today with more showers expected tonight. Hurricane force winds are expected to die down as the storm makes its way through Alabama and Georgia.

Thursday is expected to bring more showers and possibly a thunderstorm with a high temperature near 85 degrees. South wind will be up to 11 mph. New rainfall amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch are possible.

Forecasters are calling for an 80 percent chance of showers continuing into Thursday night, which also could bring thunderstorms. New rainfall amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch are possible, according to the National Weather Service.

Showers are expected to continue through the weekend, which also could bring thunderstorms. The chance of precipitation is 60 percent, forecasters said. New rainfall amounts of up to an inch and a half are also possible through Saturday night.

While a direct threat of serious damage from Hurricane Sally is unlikely, abnormally high tides and incoming rain could cause flooding Wednesday evening in the Lowcountry, according to forecasts from the National Weather Service. 

A high tide of 7.7 feet is forecast at 8 p.m., putting water levels in moderate flood stage and raising the likelihood of some road closures in and around Charleston.

"The condition will be exacerbated" if rain arrives around that time, according to a Wednesday morning forecast discussion, forecasters predicted. 

Jonathan Lamb, a meteorologist with the Weather Service in Charleston, said some rain will arrive this evening but there aren't "strong indications of a particularly widespread heavy rainfall." The Lowcountry sees some of its worst flooding events when rain is stopped from draining by an elevated tide. 

The astronomical cycle of a new moon on Thursday and a moon in perigee (or at its closest point to Earth) on Friday is pushing water levels in Charleston Harbor higher. It's common for these "king tides" to arrive in the Southeast in autumn because of the lunar cycle. 

Already, Charleston saw a tide at 8.06 feet on Tuesday night, the first time this year that the tidal gauge in Charleston Harbor has reached major flooding category. Water inundated low-lying areas downtown like Lockwood Drive, and crept onto the backside of the Isle of Palms, covering roadways there. But the peak tide arrived around 7:30, missing the evening commute. 

Lamb said weather watchers sent in relatively few reports on Tuesday night, but that may have been because it was becoming dark when the worst of the tidal inundation hit. 

On Thursday, rains from Hurricane Sally will arrive across the area, dropping an estimated one to two inches of rain through the evening. The slow-moving storm was poised to cause catastrophic rainfall flooding for the Gulf coasts of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center. 

It will be moving faster, with less time to dump water, as a tropical depression by the time it crosses the Palmetto State. Sally could still make a mess around Thursday's larger high tide, however, forecast at 7.7 feet around 9 p.m.

Reporter Chloe Johnson contributed to this story.