The National Hurricane Center is monitoring a new disturbance located just off the South Carolina coast; the big question tonight is whether or not tropical trouble is brewing along the U.S. East Coast this weekend.
According to an updated Tropical Outlook issued by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, Florida, recent surface observations indicate that a small low pressure system located just inland to the west of Charleston, South Carolina, is producing localized areas of winds to tropical storm force along the South Carolina coast.
The NHC says that this system is expected to move northeastward along the South Carolina and North Carolina coasts over the weekend. The NHC also warns that it is possible that a tropical depression or tropical storm could form if the center of the low remains close enough to the warm Atlantic waters during that time. Right now, the NHC believes there’s a 60% medium chance of a tropical cyclone forming here over the next 48 hours.
Regardless of development, this system is expected to produce heavy rains, which could cause flash flooding across coastal portions of the Carolinas over the weekend. Any development of the system could also kick-up surf, creating rip current problems along the U.S. East Coast over the 4th of July Holiday Weekend.
Regardless of any tropical development, the system is well east of an ongoing earthquake swarm located in central South Carolina. More than 40 earthquakes have struck the area north and east of Columbia since December and scientists aren’t sure of the cause. Local officials are planning a town hall meeting in Elgin where most of the epicenters of the earthquakes have been; any tropical development on the coast should not impact that planning process.