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York, Chester, Lancaster under Hurricane Michael flood watch; 50 mph winds possible

Hurricane Michael makes Category 4 landfall in Florida, continues to track northeast

Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle as a powerful Category 4 storm with sustained winds around 155 mph. Tropical storm force winds are likely in Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia.
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Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle as a powerful Category 4 storm with sustained winds around 155 mph. Tropical storm force winds are likely in Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia.

Rains expected to be “very heavy” Thursday from Hurricane Michael could drop as much as 6 inches on York, Chester and Lancaster counties, weather officials said.

The three counties are all under a flash flood watch and both York and Chester counties are under a tropical storm watch; wind gusts could reach 50 mph Thursday, officials said.

In a statement Wednesday, York County Emergency Management officials warned of potential for tornadoes, downed trees, power outages and localized flooding.

“Hurricane Michael is expected to move into York County as a tropical storm Thursday morning into Thursday afternoon with predictions for wind speeds of 25 to 40 mph and gusts up to 50 mph,” the statement said.

The statement said: “Rain totals may range from 4 to 6 inches during this storm. There is a slight threat for tornado activity associated with this storm system, especially in the eastern part of the state.”

The area could see flooding and rain worse than Florence because the ground is already saturated, and the storm increased to a category 4 storm Wednesday, officials said.

“The greatest threat that Michael will pose for our area appears to be flash flooding,” a statement from the National Weather Service said. “Based on the most likely track of the storm, the heaviest rainfall totals are expected along and south of Interstate 85.”

Possible rain totals, forecast at 4 inches earlier this week, were raised to up to 6 inches as the storm strengthened. The area could see 3 to 6 inches, officials said.

Periodic rain Wednesday is expected to turn into steady rain all day Thursday with the storm passing through by Friday, officials said.

Check back for updates.

Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065, @AndrewDysHerald
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