Whatever remains of Tropical Storm Elsa by Thursday is expected to cross through North Carolina as it passes inland across the southern states, potentially bringing rain and wind to the Sandhills region.
Estimates from the National Hurricane Center early this week shifted the storm’s track slightly to the west as it reached the Florida panhandle, meaning it could move through central North Carolina beginning Wednesday night through Thursday. However, the storm’s cone of possibility ranged from the Outer Banks, as far inland as Charlotte.
Meteorologists predicted Elsa could still be a tropical depression when it enters the Carolinas. It could bring rainfall of one to three inches, with possible higher amounts of up to five inches, along with a risk of tornados. Winds could gust up to 30 to 35 miles an hour, depending on how much energy the storm has by the time it reaches North Carolina.
Gov. Roy Cooper and state emergency management officials are monitoring the forecast track and the potential impacts from the storm, according to the governor’s office. State officials advised residents from eastern to central North Carolina to be prepared for possible heavy rainfall and flooding.
“Residents and visitors to North Carolina should keep a close watch on the forecast for this storm,” Cooper said in a statement Tuesday. “It’s important that everyone be aware and prepared for rains, and it’s also important to avoid driving through floodwaters.”
The state activated the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh Tuesday to monitor the storm, and the state’s Emergency Response Team is preparing to support local governments with any storm-related needs.
The worry is that the heavy rainfall could cause some flash flooding in low-lying areas. However the storm is predicted to move quickly through the state, limiting the threat, according to predictions.