Ian again was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone Friday, hours after making landfall in South Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm spent two days ravaging the state of Florida. Forecasters said in the 8 pm update Friday that Ian still poses a high-wind threat and is bringing heavy rain and flash flooding to the Carolinas.
The Category 1 storm landed near Georgetown, South Carolina, around 2 pm, packing maximum sustained winds of 85 mph. As of the 8 pm update, maximum sustained winds had dropped to 60 mph. Ian was about 45 miles northeast of Florence, South Carolina, and moving north at 15 mph.
The storm is expected to move across central North Carolina overnight into Saturday while continuing to weaken, the hurricane center said in the 8 pm update. Ian is expected to dissipate either over North Carolina or Virginia later Saturday.
Major river flooding will continue through the next week in Central Florida, according to the National Weather Service. On Friday, portions of South Carolina are expected to have considerable flooding.
In the Tampa Bay area, the National Weather Service issued flood warnings for the Manatee River in Manatee County, the Alafia River at Lithia in Hillsborough County and the Little Manatee River at Wimauma at US 301 in Hillsborough County. Other rivers across central and south Florida have some flood warnings.
For the Alafia River, a flood stage begins at 13 feet. At 1 pm, the National Weather Service recorded water levels at 18.16 feet, placing the river in a moderate flood stage — less than a foot away from a major flood stage. The National Weather Service expects water levels to peak at about 18.6 feet early Saturday morning, and then begin to trend down.
The Little Manatee River is in a major flood stage. A major flood stage at the river is 17 feet or above. Friday morning readings recorded water levels had reached major flooding, but were trending down through the day. At 1 pm the water level was at 16.8 feet. Forecasts show water levels will continue to trend down into next week. But water levels will be high through the weekend.
The National Weather Service says if you encounter a flooded road, do not drive through it. Most flood deaths occur in cars, the Weather Service said. Do not walk through flood waters, and be aware of any downed power lines in floods.
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Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Ian coverage
HOW TO HELP: Where to donate or volunteer to help Hurricane Ian victims.
TAMPA BAY CLOSURES: What to know about bridges, roads in Ian’s aftermath
WHEN THE STORM HAS PASSED: Now what? Safety tips for returning home.
POST-STORM QUESTIONS: After Hurricane Ian, how to get help with fallen trees, food, damaged shelter.
WEATHER EFFECTS: Hurricane Ian was supposed to slam Tampa Bay head on. What happened?
WHAT TO DO IF HURRICANE DAMAGES YOUR HOME: Stay calm, then call your insurance company.
SCHOOLS: Will schools reopen quickly after Hurricane Ian passes? It depends.
MORE STORM COVERAGE: Get ready and stay informed at tampabay.com/hurricane.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism