Tropical Storm Ian has intensified to a Category 1 hurricane, and is expected to make landfall in South Carolina this afternoon with life-threatening storm surges and damaging winds.

The hurricane made landfall along the southwestern coast of Florida as a Category 4 hurricane on Wednesday.

More than 20 people have been reported dead so far in Florida due to the storm as search and rescue efforts continue in the worst-hit areas of the state.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the centre of Ian is only about 60 miles from making landfall in South Carolina.

Ian has maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, but its forward speed has increased slightly to 14 mph.

Landfall is expected early this afternoon between Charleston and Myrtle Beach.

With the eye of the storm expected to hit east of Charleston, the storm surge forecast has been lowered slightly for the city.

It’s currently expected to be two to four feet above tidal levels.

A higher surge is expected east of the centre of the storm, where winds will push water onshore.

Storm surge is forecast to be four to seven feet from Isle of the Palms to Little River Inlet, which includes Myrtle Beach.