How could Tropical Storm Elsa impact the Triangle? Here’s the forecast for Thursday

Tropical Storm Elsa is expected to move through central North Carolina on Thursday, bringing risks of strong winds, heavy rain and isolated tornadoes.

Though Elsa is expected to weaken as it moves inland from Florida, it could pose risks to the Triangle.

“The main threat is gusty winds and isolated tornadoes,” according to ABC11, The News & Observer’s media partner.

In Durham, Johnston, Wake and other counties to the east, forecasters said winds could reach 40 mph as severe weather is possible.

Another potential risk comes from heavy rain, which could bring flooding, especially in urban areas and those with poor drainage, the National Weather Service said.

In Raleigh, forecasters said there’s a potential for tropical storm conditions. Up to 2 inches of rain could fall during the day Thursday, with higher totals possible overnight.

In Eastern North Carolina, some places along the coast could see an isolated 5 inches of rain, forecasters said.

As of 8 a.m. Wednesday, forecasters said Elsa was about 115 miles northwest of Tampa. The storm — which was downgraded from a hurricane overnight — has maximum sustained winds of 65 mph and was expected to make landfall along Florida’s Gulf Coast by the afternoon.

“A turn toward the north-northeast is expected late this afternoon or tonight, followed by a faster northeastward motion by late Thursday,” the National Hurricane Center said.

By Friday, the forecast calls for conditions in the Triangle to be mostly cloudy, with a chance for showers and thunderstorms.

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Simone Jasper is a reporter covering breaking stories for The News & Observer and real-time news in the Carolinas.

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