Miami,Fla. (970 WFLA)-At 8:00 AM EDT, the center of Tropical Storm Michael was located near latitude 34.1 North, longitude 81.8 West, about 40 miles west-northwest of Columbia, South Carolina
Michael is moving toward the northeast near 21 mph and this motion is expected to continue with an increase in forward speed through tonight. A turn toward the east-northeast and an even faster forward speed are expected on Friday.
On the forecast track, the center of Michael will continue to move across central South Carolina this morning, then move across portions of central and eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia this afternoon and this evening, and move into the Atlantic Ocean by late tonight or early Friday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph with higher gusts. Little change in strength is expected today, with the strongest winds primarily spreading northward along the coast of the Carolinas. Michael is forecast to intensify as it becomes a post-tropical low over the Atlantic late tonight or early Friday.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 160 miles mainly over water to the southeast of the center. A coastal marine observing site at Folly Island, South Carolina recently reported a sustained wind of 45 mph with a gust to 54 mph.A wind gust to 49 mph was recently observed in Charleston,South Carolina.
The estimated minimum central pressure based on surface observations is 986 mb (29.12 inches).
A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for... * Ocracoke Inlet North Carolina to Duck North Carolina
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for... * Altamaha Sound Georgia to Duck North Carolina
* Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds
The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water has the potential to reach the following heights above ground if peak surge occurs at the time of high tide...
Sound side of the North Carolina Outer Banks from Ocracoke Inlet to Duck...2-4 ft
WIND: Tropical storm conditions are occurring over portions of eastern and southeastern Georgia and South Carolina. These conditions will spread northward across central and eastern portions of North Carolina today.
Gale- to storm-force winds are expected over portions of southeastern Virginia, extreme northeastern North Carolina, and the Delmarva Peninsula as Michael becomes post-tropical off the Mid-Atlantic coast late tonight or early Friday.
RAINFALL: Michael is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 4 to 7 inches from eastern Georgia to the southern Mid-Atlantic states and 1 to 3 inches over the northern Mid-Atlantic states and coastal southern New England. Isolated maximum amounts of 9 inches are possible in North Carolina and Virginia. This rainfall could lead to life-threatening flash floods.
TORNADOES: Isolated tornadoes are possible today over portions of eastern South Carolina, eastern and central North Carolina, and southeast Virginia.
Graphic credit: NHC Miami