Coastal storm this weekend for Georgia/South Carolina coasts

For those of you on on the Georgia Coast and South Carolina Lowcountry a storm system is brewing up that threatens some gusty winds and coastal flooding. In fact, if the forecast holds, the water levels at the Fort Pulaski gauge are predicted to be in the top five water levels in the last 80 years, beating the October 2015 storm for the number four spot (10.6 is forecast for around 10am Saturday; the October 2015 storm reached 10.43 feet above MLLW). Here is the tide forecast for this weekend …


These water levels are about two feet lower than the modern records of 12.6 feet set by hurricanes Irma (2017) or Matthew (2016), so while high, and the usual coastal places that flood will see water, that couple of feet makes a difference given the low terrain. And while the wind will be a bit gusty, nowhere near dangerous levels, so don’t use those storms as reference points!

Tides tonight should also be quite high, into the moderate flood stage. There are several reasons for this. First, the moon is near new, so the pull of the sun and moon are lined up creating higher tides. Second, the winds have been blowing onshore, so that “stacks up” water in the marshes – water levels have been running about a foot above normal. The storm, a fairly classic nor’easter like system forming out of a frontal system, is currently (Friday Morning) over the Gulf, but by Saturday morning will be just offshore …

Forecast for 8am Saturday Morning; click to embiggen …

This will mess with the Rock and Roll Marathon in Savannah, with temperatures at race time in the upper 40’s (good you’re running) and 80% chance of rain showers (not so good). The entire coast from Jacksonville up to the other side of Charleston will see impacts … the weather service office in Charleston has a briefing up at this link. To be clear, aside for folks in the usual places that flood with higher than normal tides this will just be a cold, wet, windy day, but if you do live on the water it may get uncomfortably high.

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