Will Hurricane Irma Hit South Carolina? The Category 5 Storm Could Be Deadly

LIONEL CHAMOISEAU/AFP/Getty Images
Share

Over the next few days, cities and states up and down the eastern seaboard will be gearing up for the worst, even as they hope disaster doesn't come to pass. But there's no avoiding the fact that there might be a devastatingly destructive situation on the horizon, thanks to the unrelenting path of Hurricane Irma, currently holding the highest classification of a Category 5 hurricane (there is no Category 6). So, of you're wondering whether Hurricane Irma will hit South Carolina, the best answer right now is likely "better safe than sorry."

In short, it's too early for major hurricane forecasters to predict with any certainty what path Irma will take, if and when it hits the U.S. mainland. As it stands now, it looks increasingly certain that Florida will be affected by Irma, if not hit directly by it — the National Hurricane Center's most recent five-day projection has it moving right over Florida, reaching the southern half of the state on Sunday, and moving into northeast Florida on Monday.

From there, South Carolina isn't so far away ― it's only separated from Florida by the state of Georgia, a matter of about 140 miles along the coastline. There are very real scenarios in which Irma will hit Florida and snake up along the east coast, and if you're living in or around the potentially affected areas, it's important to be prepared for the worst.

One potential model for Irma's path is what happened in 2016 when Hurricane Matthew descended on the eastern seaboard. As The Weather Channel noted on Wednesday, if Irma were to mimic how Matthew progressed, with the eye of the storm turning eastwards slightly sooner than currently predicted, that could set up the Palmetto State to bear the full force of the landfall.

Hurricane Matthew proved to be both deadly and costly for the state of South Carolina, although thankfully, the death toll was nowhere near as high as it could have been. Three people lost their lives, and the state absorbed a report $64 million or so in property damage.

It's unclear how much damage Irma will do if it hits the state, however. As a Category 5 hurricane, it currently boasts wind speeds of more than 156 mph, although its possible it could lose some power by then if it makes an earlier landfall in Florida. But if you live in South Carolina, it's getting close to the time when you need to start thinking about your personal safety, as well as stocking up on supplies to make sure you won't be helpless if the storm does indeed hit.