First Alert: Irma impacting Coastal Empire, Lowcountry

First Alert: Irma impacting Coastal Empire, Lowcountry
Tree on house in Statesboro. (Source: WTOC)
Tree on house in Statesboro. (Source: WTOC)

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Widespread tropical storm force winds and localized gusts greater than 70 MPH are expected across the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry; strongest south of the Altamaha River. Widespread power outages are likely, especially south of the Savannah River.

WTOC is live on-air, online and on our mobile app with coverage of today's severe weather.


Rainfall may amount to as much as 12"-14" in isolated areas south of the Altamaha River. Widespread accumulations of 4" to 10" are forecast between midday Sunday and Monday night.

[WATCH: Ocean water breaching beach access point on Tybee Island]

If heavy rain falls during peak high tides, significant flooding may occur along the Interstate 95 corridor.

[LIST: Impassable roads and closures]

Isolated tornadoes will be embedded within rain bands that rotate through our region late Sunday and Monday.

[SLIDESHOW: PHOTOS: Hurricane Irma impacts around the region]

The heavier rain and stronger winds are slowly moving up the coast and inland, and in each rain band there's a threat of isolated individual rotation. That's why we have a Tornado Watch for Chatham, Bryan, Liberty, Long, McIntosh, Wayne, Glynn, Brantley, Pierce, Ware, and Charlton Counties until 11 a.m. Monday.

A little after 4 p.m. on Sunday, Major Hurricane Irma made a second landfall at Marco Island, FL as a Category 3 hurricane.

Major Hurricane Irma's track brings it northward, through the Florida peninsula, and into southwestern Georgia Monday afternoon. There is still a bit of uncertainty in Irma's exact path and subtle wobbles or shifts could alter impacts across our region.

A Hurricane Watch has been issued for all coastal counties through Monday. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for most inland communities.

High tides are already running above the astronomical forecast. Tidal flooding is certain around times of high tide for the next few days. Coastal flooding will impact travel on Highway 80 near Tybee Island.

As of the latest forecast from the Weather Prediction Center, there is a potential of achieving a record tide level of greater than 13' Monday afternoon. Heavy rain may further exacerbate coastal flooding Monday.

Even a subtle shift eastward could bring worse conditions to the Georgia coast late Sunday and Monday.

As of this forecast, the most adverse weather conditions are expected to occur across Georgia and South Carolina between 12 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday, peaking Monday afternoon and early evening.

Stay with WTOC through the complicated forecast. We will keep you updated on TV, in the WTOC Weather App and at the WTOC Hurricane Center.

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