The path of a tropical storm that is expected to bring rain and wind to coastal North Carolina at the start of the long Labor Day weekend has shifted, and forecasters now expect the storm to also soak eastern and central parts of the state, including the Triangle.
Tropical Storm Hermine was still in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday, moving north-northeastward toward the Florida panhandle at about 7 mph. It had sustained winds of 45 mph and could be near hurricane strength, with winds of 75 mph, by the time it makes landfall late Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm had been expected to cross Florida and emerge in the Atlantic off Georgia and the Carolinas as it moved toward the northeast. Now forecasters expect the center of the storm will remain over land, which will reduce the punch of its winds but dump heavy rain on inland areas.
The hurricane center said Eastern North Carolina can expect 4 to 8 inches of rain before the storm moves out Saturday. The National Weather Service office in Raleigh said the heaviest rain in the Triangle will fall late Friday, when three inches or more are possible.
National Weather Service forecasters in Morehead City say tropical storm conditions are possible Friday into Saturday along the coast, with flash flooding, strong winds and possible tornadoes.
Forecasters expect the sun to return to the Triangle and the coast on Sunday and Monday, with high temperatures in the 80s.