Hurricane Irma: How much rain could Greenville get?

At NASA a 3-D image was created using GPM’s radar (DPR Ku band) data. GPM’s radar revealed that the extremely powerful storms rotating around the eye were reaching altitudes greater than 7.75 miles (12.5 km). The tallest thunderstorms were found by GPM’s radar in a feeder band that was located to the southwest of Irma’s eye. These extreme storms were reaching heights of over 10.0 miles (16.2 km).
(Photo: National Hurricane Center)

The National Weather Service has released a hazardous weather outlook for Greenville and the Upstate, warning residents of tropical storm hazards early next week.

Excessive rainfall and damaging wind gusts are possible Monday and Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport. The Weather Prediction Center, an arm of the weather service, predicts 3 to 5 inches of rain will fall in the Greenville area during that time.

Hurricane Irma is a Category 4 storm now, but has a long way to go before potentially reaching South Carolina and is expected to weaken as it crosses through the Palmetto State. Much of the impact in Greenville will depend on what happens near Florida.

"The storm is still quite a ways away," said Tony Sturey, warning and coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service at GSP. "As the system reaches Florida, it’s going to turn. How sharp that turn is can make a big difference."

The weather service is tracking potential paths of the storm, but their focus right now is on a track that will take Irma up through Florida and Georgia before it reaches the southern South Carolina coast in the very early hours of Tuesday as a hurricane with wind speeds between 74 and 110 mph.

Hurricanes feed off of warm oceanic waters, Sturey explained, so once Irma goes over land, the storm is likely to weaken, though it doesn’t happen as quickly as flipping a switch.

Irma is expected to reach the greater Greenville area around 8 a.m. Tuesday morning, Sturey said, but not before it will likely weaken to a tropical storm with wind speeds between 39 and 73 mph.

Forecasts can change within a matter of hours, Story said, especially with the storm being a few days out.

For information on how to prepare for a hurricane or tropical storm, visit the South Carolina Hurricane Guide on the South Carolina Emergency Management Division website at scemd.org.

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