Richland, Lexington counties tropical storm watch upgraded to warning, West Columbia school to close
Hurricane Michael has strengthened to a Category 4 storm overnight. Michael is expected to make landfall on the Florida Panhandle, Wednesday. It will progress, forecasters said, and it’s on track toward South Carolina.
A tropical storm watch was issued late Tuesday afternoon, and is in effect for the counties of: Lexington, Richland, Calhoun, Clarendon, Sumter, and Lee until Friday morning. The watched was changed to a warning just after 5 a.m. Wednesday by the National Weather Service. A tropical storm warning means tropical storm-force winds are expected in an area within the next 36 hours. The wind effect is expected to hit the Columbia area after 5 a.m. Thursday.
All local school superintendents will have a conference call Wednesday morning to discuss with local authorities about the possibility of closing schools in Lexington and Richland counties.
A watch means tropical storm force winds of 39-to-73 mph are expected in the area within 48 hours. Rainfall could be 4-to-6 inches.
The National Weather Service also issued a flash flooding watch for Richland and Lexington counties. The flood watch will be in effect from Wednesday evening into Thursday evening.
As of the 5 a.m. Wednesday the dangerous Hurricane Michael had sustained winds of 140 mph, with stronger gusts according to the National Hurricane Center.
A tropical storm warning is now in effect for Orangeburg County. At first, that was a watch, but it was upgraded to a warning late Tuesday. There is also a tropical storm warning from the South Santee River in South Carolina to Surf City, NC.
Gray Collegiate Academy in West Columbia is closing at noon Wednesday, and will be closed all day Thursday.
Calhoun County Schools – closing early Wednesday, closed all day Thursday
Orangeburg School District 3 – closing at half day Wednesday, closed all day Thursday
Orangeburg School District 4 – closing at half day Wednesday, closed all day Thursday
Orangeburg School District 5 – closing at half day Wednesday, closed all day Thursday.