Officials in Charleston and surrounding areas continued to combat major tidal flooding Friday as they prepared for an increasing likelihood that Hurricane Dorian would impact South Carolina.
The National Weather Service has issued a coastal flood warning for Charleston and Berkeley counties from 7 p.m. to midnight. The high tide was forecast to reach 8.1 feet at 8:51 p.m.
Charleston police temporarily closed several streets due to flooding.
Evening high tide is expected to stay at 8.1 feet through Saturday, the Weather Service said.
Drivers are urged to avoid flooded roads and use caution when driving in low-lying areas prone to flooding, according to a statement by Charleston city officials.
Charleston emergency management officials are continuing to monitor Hurricane Dorian and the possibility for local impact, according to the statement.
"City crews will continue to monitor ditches and storm drains and perform pre-storm preventative maintenance, as needed," the statement said. "The water level in Colonial Lake has been lowered, and crews continue to lower Lake Dotterer, as the tide cycle allows."
The nighttime tidal flooding has nothing to do with Dorian at this time.
This week has so far brought an unfortunate confluence of events to the Charleston area, all of them pushing water into land: winds coming out of the northeast, a new moon and the peak of a perigean cycle, where the moon is closest to the Earth.
Tidal flooding is an accelerating problem in Charleston and many other areas of the East Coast as sea levels rise and coastal cities, many of which were built, in part, with artificially filled land, slowly sink.
Dorian, meanwhile, continues to strengthen in the Atlantic Ocean.
At 11 p.m. Friday, Dorian’s winds increased to 140 mph, making it a Category 4 storm considered potentially devastating.
Forecasters and computer predictions became surer it will make landfall in the central region of Florida on Tuesday and begin a slow crawl toward Georgia and South Carolina.
It was still too soon to know whether Dorian would have direct, significant impacts to the Lowcountry, "but the threat is increasing for the middle to later part of next week," the Weather Service said Friday.
Moderate to major tidal flooding is expected through at least the middle of next week, even if Dorian stays away from the Charleston area, the Weather Service said. There is also an increasing threat of flooding rainfall during the middle to end of next week.