Here’s what Hurricane Michael could mean for Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand

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Hurricane Michael will likely strengthen to a Category 3 storm before it makes landfall on the Gulf Coast, according to the National Weather Service. Forecasters predict the storm will turn toward the Carolinas and could pass inland off Myrtle Beach as a tropical storm.

The Weather Service has already issued a tropical storm warning for the coast along Georgia and South Carolina almost as far north as Georgetown.

The Weather Service in Wilmington warned Tuesday morning that the area could get 2 to 4 inches of rain. The most impacts to the Grand Strand region are expected during the day Thursday.

Hurricane Michael will almost certainly bring more rain to areas already hard-hit by flooding from Hurricane Florence last month.

“The ground remains saturated in many areas from Florence’s rainfall, and any heavy rainfall from Michael may quickly lead to additional flooding,” Weather Service forecaster Steven Pfaff warned in a Tuesday morning update.

“Also, since the ground is saturated in many areas it will not take as much wind to topple weakened trees causing additional power outages,” he added.

The Weather Service warned that coast flooding is expected with each high tide. “The highest risk for storm surge will occur Thursday, and vulnerable low spots along the beaches or those where the shoreline was weakened from Florence are at the greatest risk,” according to the Weather Service.

The Weather Service predicts the Carolinas could see 3 to 6 inches of rain from Michael.

The Waccamaw River is still in moderate flood stage from Hurricane Florence and the Weather Service predicts the river level will continue to drop slowly.

NWS forecasters also warned of a high rip current risk along the Grand Strand Tuesday.

Charles Duncan: 843-626-0301, @duncanreporting