A tropical storm warning was issued for North Carolina’s coast on Monday from Surf City to Duck, according to the National Hurricane Center. The Albemarle and Pamlico sounds are included in the warning.
A tropical depression is moving up the coast and is expected to affect North Carolina’s shores late Monday and Tuesday. A warning means that tropical storm conditions, with sustained winds of at least 39 mph, are expected within 36 hours.
A flash flood warning was issued for areas in North Carolina east of Interstate 95 Monday afternoon. Rain was expected to start in the Raleigh area after 8 p.m. Monday.
A tropical storm watch is in effect from south of Surf City to the Santee River in South Carolina.
Tornadoes also could form as part of the storm as it moves along the coast through the night in the Wilmington and Charleston, S.C., areas, according to the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center.
If the system becomes a tropical storm, it would be called Irma. While the storm remained disorganized and had not been upgraded as of about 7 p.m. on Monday, the weather service warned that it could still strengthen overnight and into Tuesday and become Irma.
Bands of heavy rain and wind could move into Central North Carolina as the storm passes, the National Weather Service said.
The storm is likely to have its greatest effect on North Carolina’s shores late Monday or early Tuesday, including rough surf and some coastal flooding. The storm probably will graze Virginia’s coast Tuesday evening before turning out to sea, the weather service said.
North Carolina Emergency Management said there were elevated chances for flooding with 2-3 inches of rain inland and 3-6 inches along the coast, along with damaging winds 35-65 mph and dangerous surf. There was a red flag warning up and down the coast on Monday, warning people to stay out of the water. Localized flooding of roads and low-lying areas mostly in areas adjacent to bodies of water is possible.
“The good news is that, so far, this appears to be a fast-moving system that will not dampen plans for the Labor Day weekend,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement on Monday. “However, we know from experience how quickly these storms can change and we want everyone to be cautious and prepared.”
Ferry service suspended
High water suspended service on the Cherry Branch–Minnesott Beach route and the route from Cedar Island to Ocracoke was canceled because of the weather.
As the storm approaches the coast, it is likely additional cancelations will take place on Tuesday, according to the governor. Passengers can get updates on Tuesday by calling one of the route terminals, or by checking the Ferry Division Twitter feed.
“Many North Carolinians are still recovering from Hurricane Matthew’s devastation last fall,” Cooper said. “And we’ve watched sympathetically over the past few days as Texans struggle with the impacts of Hurricane Harvey. While this storm is not predicted to be that severe, we want everyone to take it seriously and ensure your family is prepared.”
For real-time weather, flooding, traffic and shelter information, download the free ReadyNC app.
Molina: 919-829-4538. On Twitter: @Cmolina__