Danny makes landfall over South Carolina and weakens into tropical depression
By Johnny Díaz and Jesús Jiménez
The season’s fourth tropical storm, named Danny, made landfall Monday evening over South Carolina, and then weakened into a tropical depression.
The system, which developed as a depression off the coast Monday morning, was about 95 miles west of Charleston, South Carolina, moving west-northwest at 15 mph with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. Tropical storms form when maximum sustained winds reach 39 mph.
“It’s a minimal tropical storm,” said Dennis Feltgen, a spokesperson for the center in Miami, before the storm had made landfall. “There is no such thing as a justa tropical storm. Justa is not in the dictionary so you never want to take a tropical storm lightly.”
He said the primary threat from the system was rain. Heavy rain was possible from southern coastal South Carolina and Georgia and inland across the Piedmont area of Georgia and into northeast Alabama, according to the center.
After weakening into a tropical depression, Danny was expected to continue to lose strength before dissipating Tuesday, according to the hurricane center.
In an update Monday evening, the hurricane center said an isolated tornado was possible as the system moved inland along the South Carolina coast, but as the system weakened, tornadoes were no longer a concern by late Monday. The potential threat for dangerous surf and rip currents, and widespread flooding had also decreased.
Forecasters said the system could bring 1 to 2 inches of rainfall with higher amounts along the coasts of Georgia and southern South Carolina.
“The good news is that region has been dry, so it should be able to handle the rainfall,” Feltgen said.
Because the system had weakened, all tropical storm warnings were discontinued by late Monday.
Danny is the fourth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season. In mid-June, Claudette was blamed for the deaths of 14 people — 10 of them children — as it moved from the Gulf Coast to the East Coast.
This was the seventh year in a row that a named storm developed in the Atlantic before the official start of the season on June 1. Hurricanes have become increasingly dangerous and destructive with each passing season.
Researchers have found that climate change has produced storms that are more powerful and have heavier rain. The storms also have a tendency to meander. A combination of rising seas and slower storms also make for higher and more destructive storm surges.
Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast that there would be 13 to 20 named storms this year, six to 10 of which would be hurricanes, and three to five major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher in the Atlantic.
Last year, there were 30 named storms, including six major hurricanes, forcing meteorologists to exhaust the alphabet for the second time and move to using Greek letters.
It was the highest number of storms on record, surpassing the 28 from 2005, and included the second-highest number of hurricanes on record.