Hurricane Irma: What you need to know for the Charleston area

Hurricane Irma (NOAA)

Hurricane Irma has lots of people on edge as some remember back to 1989 when Hurricane Hugo made landfall while others still have fresh pictures of Hurricane Harvey in their minds. It’s important to stick to the facts when dealing with a major hurricane like Irma. By the way, a major hurricane means that it is a Category 3, 4, or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale.


Here is what we know:

- Irma is the strongest Atlantic hurricane north of the Caribbean and east of the Gulf of Mexico.

- Only one other hurricane has had stronger winds…that was Hurricane Allen in 1980.

- Irma is forecast to remain a major hurricane as it moves northwest near Puerto Rico, north of Hispaniola then toward the Bahamas and Cuba.

- Impacts are likely in the Southeast.

- Any impacts that COULD be felt here in the Lowcountry COULD be as early as late Sunday, but more than likely Monday into Tuesday. Any potential school closings will be UPDATED HERE.

Here is what we don’t know:

- The exact track. Track errors on the official National Hurricane center forecast are 175 to 225 miles for Day 4 and 5. FOLLOW THE STORM HERE

- The exact impacts across parts of the Southeast. To prepare for potential impact, SC Gov. Henry McMaster issued a State of Emergency.

- The strength of Irma heading into the weekend…it will depend on how much the storm interacts with land.

We will continue to monitor Irma very closely. Check back frequently for updates. Until then, now is a good time to work on your plan.

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