By Andrew Gorton, Sarah Winkelmann, Mariah Congedo and Paige Phillips
SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Thursday, Friday and Saturday are First Alert Weather Days:
Ian is expected to strengthen into a Category One Hurricane over the Atlantic by Thursday evening. Landfall is expected in South Carolina on Friday with max sustained wind near 75 miles per hour.
Today, rain pushes in from the south, mainly along the coast throughout the morning. Our sustained wind from the northeast will be 20 to 30 miles per hour. Gusts around Savannah will be around 35 to 40 miles per hour and will be 40+ miles per hour right along the coast throughout the day. We have already seen a gust of 45 in St. Simons. Inland areas look drier than the coast on Thursday during the day. Heavy rain looks to become more widespread overnight into Friday morning as these bands push inland. We will be watching for isolated tornadoes at this time as well, but the threat is low.
Friday looks to be our wettest and breeziest day, especially along the coast. The wind will also pick up during the predawn hours. The wind will be from the northeast at 30 to 35 miles per hour. Wind gusts around Savannah will be in the 35 to 45 mile per hour range from the morning into the early afternoon. A gust or two could approach 50 miler per hour for inland areas, including for Savannah. Expect stronger along the coast where wind gusts could top over 60 miles per hour. A gust right along the beaches could reach 70 miles per hour. Gusty conditions continue into the evening, but the speeds will come down and we will begin to dry out from south to north.
Rainfall totals for Ian from Wednesday to Saturday looks to be from 3 to 5 inches, lower for inland communities and higher along the immediate coast. We will also be monitoring the high tide cycles closely, as heavy rain bands and an onshore breeze could combine and cause additional flooding. We are specifically watching the Friday high tide around noon at Fort Pulaski that is projected to reach Major Flood Stage at 10.9′.
Conditions begin to improve Saturday afternoon into Sunday.
Tybee Island closed their water on Wednesday in preparation for the storm.
These storms bring several concerns to Tybee Island. Storms over the years have brought a bad history of flooding with houses and roadways coming in and out of the island.
Coligny Beach on Hilton Head Island is also preparing for any impacts Ian might bring.
Comcast says it’s opened about 200,000 Xfinity wi-fi hotspots in Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Florida.
The public hotspots are available for free to everyone, including non-Xfinity customers.
A map of public Xfinity wi-fi hotspots is available on Xfinity’s website.
The Savannah Hilton Head International Airport says they’re beginning to see some cancelations Thursday morning that extend into Friday.
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