Tropical Storm Warning, Flash Flood Watch issued for North Carolina hours out from Isaias
RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) — Tropical Storm Isaias is maintaining its status as a powerful storm and is expected to be near hurricane strength by the time it reaches the Carolinas in the next 24 hours. The storm is expected to impact North Carolina late Monday night into early Tuesday with rain, wind and possible flooding.
As of 5 a.m., Isaias was about 115 miles east-southeast of Jacksonville, Florida. Maximum-sustained winds were 70 mph with movement to the north at 9 mph. The storm’s current trajectory has it making landfall between Charleston, South Carolina and Wilmington and tracking through the eastern part of North Carolina.
Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect along and east of Interstate 95. A Tropical Storm Watch is out for Wake County. Warnings are issued when winds of 39 to 73 mph are expected in the region within the next 36 hours. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and the state’s Emergency Management leaders will share updates on the state’s preparations for the storm at 3 p.m.
A Hurricane Warning is issued for New Hanover and Brunswick counties.
The National Hurricane Center says the Florida east coast will see tropical storms conditions and dangerous storm surge through early Monday. Isaias was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm Saturday afternoon.
The National Hurricane Center forecasts a moderate (20%) chance of flash flooding for much of the ABC11 viewing area. A Flash Flood Watch is in effect for much of the state.
Since its conception, Isaias has teetered the line between tropical storm and a Category One Hurricane. For Isaias to reach Category One Hurricane status, it must have maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or higher. Either way, Isaias will still bring flooding and damaging wind gusts to the Carolinas.
Bands of heavy rain from Isaias lashed Florida’s east coast Sunday while officials dealing with surging cases of the coronavirus kept a close watch on the weakened tropical storm. On Sunday Afternoon, NHC said dangerous storm surge is possible from Edisto Beach, South Carolina to Cape Fear, North Carolina.
A tropical storm watch is now in effect for North and South Carolina.
President Trump approved a disaster declaration for parts of North Carolina, primarily focused around the coast, and central NC counties including Wake, Durham, Johnston Orange and Cumberland counties.
Governor Roy Cooper on Sunday reminded residents to put together an emergency kit, follow local evacuation orders, stay in a safe place and never drive through flooded roadways.
He noted that flash flooding is expected, especially near the Neuse and Tar rivers.
Widespread power outages are also expected.
WATCH HIS NEWS CONFERENCE HERE
Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry said the Red Cross needs volunteers who can help with shelter reception, feeding, dormitory management, liaisons at hotels and other vital tasks. Those 18 years old and older can visit redcross.org/volunteertoday to help.
Due to the pandemic, if you do have to evacuate, officials say you should try to stay with family, friends or at a hotel to minimize contact with others. However, Sprayberry said both non-congregate and congregate shelters will be opened for evacuees who have nowhere to go but a shelter.
WATCH: 2 States of Emergency: NC Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry speaks with Good Morning America on preparing for Tropical Storm Isaias amid COVID-19
Meteorologist Steve Stewart says the system is very disorganized due to wind shear and dry air off of Florida. He says the storm is not likely to strengthen. It will either keep its strength due to the warm water or weaken.
The system’s path has been tracking farther and farther west, closer to the I-95. It’s predicted the Triangle will have an elevated risk of severe weather.
With its eventual turn to the north, Isaias is still expected to bring heavy rain and potential flash floods to low-lying areas across Florida and the Carolinas.
WHAT WE CAN EXPECT:
Late Monday into early Tuesday, our area can expect heavy rain and flash flooding.
Rain totals could be between 2 and 4 inches. Winds will likely be gusting from 35 to 55 mph. This means there’s a possibility for some power outages and isolated tornadoes east of the storm.