NEWBERRY COUNTY — All Newberry County elementary schools will dismiss at 12:30 p.m. today while all middle and high schools will dismiss at 1 p.m. ahead of Tropical Storm Hermine’s expected influx of rain and high wind.
Lunch will be served to students prior to dismissal. All after school activities and athletic events for Friday have also been cancelled.
Tropical Storm Hermine will make its way through South Carolina today, but the National Weather Service says the greatest concern will be heavy rainfall and the potential flash flooding until this evening.
“Basically, prior to any storm of this magnitude we will make sure our emergency vehicles, such as EMS vehicles, and our equipment, such as chainsaws, are fueled up and ready to go,” said Tommy Long, emergency service coordinator for Newberry County.
Long said he does not foresee the need for emergency shelters at this time, but if that changes they will be opened up.
According to an 11 a.m. Thursday briefing, there is a threat of widespread three to six inches in rainfall, with isolated amounts around eight inches.
It is predicted that Newberry will receive just under 4 inches of rainfall. Flash flooding could make some roads impassable, and a few roads may be washed out. There is a Flash Flood Watch in effect from 6 a.m. until 6 a.m. Saturday.
The Weather Service also states that dams weakened from October 2015 floods may be more vulnerable. Water may inundate homes and businesses. The greatest threat for this heavy rainfall will be until this evening.
Strong winds could also pose an issue to the Midlands today.
The National Weather Service says that Tropical Storm force winds could occur close to Hermine’s path, with wind gusts of 50 to 60 miles per hour possible in stronger bands. Elsewhere, wind gusts of 30 to 40 miles per hour possible in stronger wind gusts.
They warn this could cause numerous downed trees and powerlines, along with some damage to roofing and unsecured objects. This will be possible until Friday evening.
The area will also have an isolated tornado risk, especially close to the path of Hermine. While isolated tornadoes are possible just about anywhere across the Midlands, they will be more likely across the eastern Midlands.
Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.