Hurricane Ian has made another landfall, this time in South Carolina. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Ian’s center came ashore Friday afternoon just after 2 p.m. near Georgetown, South Carolina, with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph.
Ian previously hit Florida’s Gulf Coast as a powerful Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph winds Wednesday, flooding homes and leaving nearly 2.7 million people without power.
A hurricane warning remains in effect from the Savannah River along the Georgia – South Carolina state line up to Cape Fear.
Tropical storm force winds were ongoing along much of the coast and Tropical Storm Warnings are in place across parts of the North Carolina coast from Cape Fear to Duck.
“Ian is forecast to move more quickly toward the north today followed by a turn toward the north-northwest by tonight. On the forecast track, the center of Ian will reach the coast of South Carolina today, and then move farther inland across eastern South Carolina and central North Carolina tonight and Saturday.”
In their statement the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Virginia, issued both a wind advisory and flood watch for Surry County.
“Hurricane Ian is expected to bring widespread 2 – 4 inches of rain to parts of the area through early afternoon Saturday. Locally higher amounts up to 6 inches are also possible, especially along the Blue Ridge, and any areas where bands of heavy rain remain situated for extended periods of time,” the advisory said.
Ian should maintain about the same strength before landfall later, then weaken and rapidly transition into a post-tropical cyclone overnight. Ian should dissipate over western North Carolina or Virginia late Saturday, the advisory notice said.
Rain chances are forecasted to remain at or above 70% through late Friday morning and then are expected to pick up into Friday afternoon remaining a steady factor through Saturday afternoon.
Beginning at 10 a.m. Friday through afternoon Saturday, the Weather Service warns to be alert for flash flooding caused by excessive rainfall from the remnants of Ian. Excessive runoff may result in flooding of rivers, creeks, streams, and other low-lying and flood-prone locations, the notice states.
“Locally considerable flash, urban, and small stream flooding is possible today into early Saturday across portions of northwest North Carolina and southwest Virginia,” the Weather Service advised.
The National Weather Service says to monitor later forecasts and be alert as watches can become warnings in a matter of minutes. Those living in areas prone to flooding should be prepared to act should flash flooding occur.
Residents of the area are also being warned about the potential for high winds. A wind advisory period began at 10 a.m. Friday and will continue through noon Saturday. The Weather Service predicts that winds of 20 to 30 mph will come from the northeast with gusts reaching up to 40 mph expected. Gusts of up to 50 mph are possible in higher elevations and along ridgetops.
Surry County Emergency Management Director Eric Southern sounded confident in the county’s preparations. He said the fact that Ian looks to be a slow rainmaker does not change the county’s preparation or alert status.
“We are monitoring the situation electronically,” he said Friday afternoon. “Our crews have been notified who is on call, they are at home waiting for the call and have equipment ready.”
He said there has been no special guidance offered from Raleigh on statewide preparation, so Surry County is ready now for the rain and wind that are expected this weekend. Southern expected the weather to have arrived by late Friday afternoon.
“People should expect wind and rain any time now,” he said as the skies got ever darker over Mount Airy.
Southern recommended residents use the Hyper-Reach system which is a state-of-the-art mass emergency notification system designed specifically for public safety. The system provides rapid notification of severe weather, amber alerts, silver alerts and safety situations using a mix of telephone calls, text and email messages, and services designed for the hearing impaired.
Citizens can download the Hyper-Reach Anywhere app on their smartphone. Hyper-Reach Anywhere is a free smartphone app that allows individual citizens to manage and monitor the alerts they receive, for their home and office addresses, as well as addresses for friends and family.
Sign at: https://signup.hyper-reach.com/hyper_reach/sign_up_page_2/?id=88382
President Joe Biden has already issued disaster declarations for the states of Florida and South Carolina, “Last night I received a request for an emergency declaration from Gov. Henry McMaster, which I approved right away just as I did for Florida,” he said. “This allows for immediate federal funding for the state to shelter people and provide other essential support.”
Closer to home, residents have been scrambling to modify and change plans due to the fickle nature of forecasting hurricanes. Surry County Public Schools released students early, canceled field trips for Friday, and moved Friday night football games to Thursday as a precaution. The Sonker Festival, Music at the Market, Mayberry Food Truck Fest, and Civil War reenactment in Ararat, Virginia were all also moved or postponed.