COLUMBIA, S.C. — Nicole is forecast has now become a tropical storm and is getting stronger as it continues on a path that should eventually bring heavy rainfall and breezy conditions to the Palmetto State.
On current projections, the rain will start Thursday afternoon. It will last into Friday. The weekend will be cooler and drier.
It was very warm Monday afternoon. Temperatures climbed into the lower to mid-80s. The Columbia airport reported a high of 83 degrees. The record high temperature yesterday was 84° set in 2017.
This afternoon temperatures will be a little cooler than yesterday. Look for highs in the lower to middle 70s this afternoon. It will be windy with winds out of the northeast at 10-20 mph with some stronger gusts. With the winds and dry conditions, there is an increased risk of wildfires through this afternoon.
The clouds will start to increase across the area Wednesday as Nicole moves westward and high pressure to the north helps bring in some high clouds. It will still be a windy day with gusts up to 30 mph. High temperatures will be in the middle 60s.
Nicole is expected to move towards the northwest and cross Florida into the Gulf of Mexico. It is forecast to possibly make another landfall along the panhandle of Florida. The eventual track and speed of Nicole will determine what we see across the Midlands.
The National Hurricane Center urges residents to not focus on the exact track of Nicole since it is expected to be a large storm with hazards extending well to the north of the center, outside of the forecast cone. These hazards are likely to affect much of the Florida peninsula and portions of the southeast US.
Moderate to heavy rainfall is expected to start Thursday afternoon. It will be a windy day. Gusts may be up to 35 mph. The rain may continue through early Friday afternoon. Total rainfall amounts are expected to be up to 3 inches.
Severe weather is possible as well, depending on the track of the storm. Isolated tornadoes cannot be ruled out, mainly closer to the coastal region of South Carolina. There is still some uncertainty in the impacts Nicole will make to our area. The forecast is likely to change as the track and speed of the storm changes.
The weekend will be sunny, cooler, and drier. Highs will be in the lower 70s Saturday, but colder air will move into the area for Sunday. Highs for the second half of the weekend may only top out in the middle 50s.