Ian is no longer a normal hurricane as it hits South Carolina

Editor’s note: A version of this article originally appeared in CNN Weather Brief, a weekly weather bulletin released every Monday. You can sign up here to receive weekly and prominent storms.


Ian is no longer a normal hurricane. It’s more of a hybrid, combining a hurricane with a typical storm system, and already the coasts of Georgia and the Carolinas are being battered by heavy winds and rain.

“Ian is caught between a rapidly intensifying Gulf Stream over warm water and being killed by a cold front,” says CNN meteorologist Chad Myers.

It’s the same front that keeps everyone in the eastern US cooler than normal.


“That battle will continue until we land,” he added. “When you look at the radar, Ian looks like he has fronts and not a circular eye. That’s why the current Ian is so unusual.’

“The movement of Ian’s center has been discontinuous over the past 6 to 12 hours, with multiple vortices apparently rotating around a common center,” the National Hurricane Center said.

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That means the storm will stop strengthening, but it also means hurricane-force winds will extend further along the coast, and cities like Charleston and Myrtle Beach will feel those winds, even if they don’t make direct landfall. they

It won’t be this big eyewall of the worst winds, or that area of ​​extreme turbulence that immediately surrounds the eye. Instead, Category 1 winds extend 70 kilometers from the center and tropical storm winds extend outward 485 kilometers.

And the strongest winds, which generally occur on the right side of the storm, are actually on the left right now.

The hurricane is expected to make landfall between Charleston and Myrtle Beach on Friday evening.

Here’s what else to expect…

Ian’s exact landing position matters only where the storm surge will occur.

“The deepest water will be near and to the right of the center along the immediate coast, where the surge will be accompanied by large waves,” the National Hurricane Center says.

In South Carolina, from Edisto Beach to Little River Inlet, a 4- to 7-foot surge could occur. The upwelling along the US East Coast is largely dependent on the tidal cycle.

It varies wildly – more so than along the Gulf Coast – so a surge at high tide is much worse than one at low tide.

Right now, most high tides are forecast for early this morning, just as the center of Ian approaches the coast.

So, “as tides continue to rise this morning and precipitation rates continue to increase, flooding will begin,” the National Weather Service said.

A band of rain will continue to move inland across the Charleston metropolitan area this morning. So far, 1 to 2 inches of rain has already fallen, with an additional 2 to 6 inches expected.

A flash flood warning is in effect for the Charleston metro area until noon. According to the National Weather Service in Charleston, major flooding is expected from Ian’s heavy rains this morning.

Some areas that will experience flooding include North Charleston, downtown Charleston, the I-26/I-526 intersection and the Charleston Naval Complex.

Although Ian will weaken significantly after landfall, the extreme rains will move further inland.

This heavy rainfall will spread into southwest Virginia. The National Weather Service has issued a Category 3 out of 4 forecast for some rain in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.

The worst precipitation will occur near the center of the storm and north of the storm track.

To the south of the storm, dry air will filter in and keep the area free of extreme rain.