The first tropical storm of the season is upon us already and it could be a doozy.
Tropical Storm Andrea is due to pass over Edisto Beach tonight and throughout the day Friday. The National Weather Center is calling for torrential downpours, winds of up to 35 miles per hour with 45 mph gusts, and a storm surge.
Look out for fallen tree branches and take in anything that can be blown around. Most importantly, stay out of the water.
Tropical storms can cause a storm surge and stronger-than-usual waves. Plus, rip currents are likely. These are strong currents that run perpendicular to the shore and can be nearly impossible to swim out of. If caught in a rip current, swim parallel to shore and until free of the rip current and swim back in. Life preservers are available at every beach access and can be used in the event of an emergency.
Every year some people take advantage of the storm surge to try body surfing or just to experience the water at its most dangerous, but realize that it is an unnecessary risk.
Be sure to check the National Weather Service before taking watercraft out as well. In most tropical storms there are small craft advisories that indicate it is unsafe to be out on the water.
Flooding is also a problem during tropical storms. On Edisto Beach, many of the low lying roads collect standing water, especially where Palmetto Boulevard meets Highway 174 by the Pavilion. Be sure to use caution when attempting to drive through any flooded areas, especially on causeways (like the strip of road between Edisto Beach and the island).
Severe thunderstorms could come along with the storm, but the wind, rain and storm surge are generally the biggest threats to Edisto Beach.
Luckily, the storm will move out of the area by the end of the day Friday and should be gone entirely by Saturday.
For current Edisto Beach weather and tide charts, click here.