RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) — Hurricane Ian gathers steam as it nears landfall in South Carolina.
The Category 1 storm has sustained winds of 85mph and gusts of up to 105mph. It was previously moving north-northeast at 9 miles per hour, however the 11 o’clock update stopped the storm moving at 14 miles per hour.
This increased rate will help push most of the rain through central North Carolina by the end of Friday. In fact, the heavy downpours should have ended by 8 or 9 p.m
The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch through 10 p.m. for all of eastern North Carolina
A tornado clock means that conditions are favorable for tornado formation. It doesn’t mean tornadoes are imminent.
The ABC11 First Alert Weather Team said the likelihood of tornadoes during this particular storm is low but possible.
Ian’s prognosis for North Carolina
Ian is expected to land near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina early Friday afternoon.
However, almost all of the storm’s rain is north of its center. That’s why bands of rain arrived in North Carolina early Friday morning — and why most of the rain will be over by the end of the day.
A tropical storm warning remains in effect for most of central North Carolina. This means that we will see a lot of rain and a lot of wind.
ABC11 meteorologist Kweilyn Murphy said most of us could expect between 2 and 6 inches of rain on Friday. Although isolated areas will receive heavier downpours that will exceed 6 inches. Isolated flooding may occur in and around these areas.
In North Carolina, the storm’s strongest winds will occur closer to the South Carolina border. The areas around the Sandhills will certainly see sustained winds in the vicinity of 40mph. As the storm moves north and west, it (and its winds) weaken.
For North Carolina, wind and rain will be the biggest contributors to this storm system.
Wind gusts that picked up on Thursday will continue through Friday, with some gusts reaching as high as 50 or 60 mph
These strong winds combined with saturated soil could cause trees to fall and endanger power lines. Electricity teams across the state are on high alert and ready to respond as quickly as possible, but it’s still likely that some people will be without power, at least for a while.
In the event of a power failure, you should contact your energy supplier. Here is a list numbers to call and other power outage tips.
Widespread flooding and river flooding are not major threats. However, flash floods are a major problem. This is because there will be periods of heavy downpours in some areas.
As with most storms, tornadoes are possible. In this case, however, they are not likely.
North Carolina prepares for Ian
On Thursday afternoon, Governor Roy Cooper provided an update on state preparations.
Cooper urged North Carolina residents to keep a close eye on the weather and take necessary action as the remnants of Hurricane Ian approach the state.
“Hurricane Ian is a reminder of how unpredictable these storms can be, and North Carolina residents should be prepared when they hit our state,” Cooper said Thursday. “Heavy rains, up to seven inches in some areas, are likely to cause flooding. Landslides are a threat in our mountains and there is a possibility of tornadoes across the state. Coastal flooding and gusty winds are likely if the storm pulls through. This storm is still dangerous.”
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