The Myrtle Beach area is under a tropical storm warning until further notice as Tropical Storm Elsa is expected to threaten the area Thursday with rain, high winds and chances of a tornado, according to the National Weather Service in Wilmington.
Early Wednesday morning, Elsa was downgraded from a Category 1 storm to a tropical storm, but the warnings remain in the effect for Horry County.
The storm is expected to roll through the Grand Strand early Thursday morning, according to NWS forecaster Dave Loewenthal. While Elsa will have lost some strength, Horry County wouldn’t be out of the woods yet.
“We will still get a lot of rain, several inches of rain,” Loewenthal said. “There’ll be some gusty winds and possibly an isolated tornado or two.”
As Elsa moves across Florida and through the Carolinas throughout Wednesday and Thursday, Loewenthal said the storm will remain a tropical storm but would be a minimal tropical storm, possibly even a tropical depression by the time it reaches the Grand Strand.
According to a Wednesday morning update from the NWS in Wilmington, one to three inches of rain are possible, though Loewenthal said some areas could see up to five inches, which could lead to isolated flooding. The NWS says that there is no threat of significant storm surge to the area.
“We don’t think that the storm surge is going to be severe. Just some minor beach erosion,” Loewenthal said.
The NWS predicts that the winds will stick primarily to the coast, with speeds reaching between 35 and 45 mph.
Loewenthal predicts that Elsa will reach the Grand Strand by 4 a.m. Thursday and most of the activity will be gone by the mid-afternoon that same day.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster urged residents Tuesday along the coast to be prepared for any impacts that Tropical Storm Elsa brings. State emergency officials suggested that residents make their final storm preparations as Elsa makes her way to the Palmetto State by double checking their emergency supplies, bringing in lawn furniture due to the risk of high winds and to heed warnings from local safety officials.