When and where Tropical Storm Claudette could cause flooding and tornadoes in NC

Tropical Storm Claudette cone at 5 a.m. Saturday, June 19, 2021.

Tropical Storm Claudette cone at 5 a.m. Saturday, June 19, 2021.

Screen shot of National Hurricane Center map

The National Weather Service on Saturday issued a tropical storm watch for southeastern North Carolina as Tropical Storm Claudette approaches the state.

Forecasters said isolated flooding could result from heavy rainfall in some areas north of Cape Fear, along with isolated tornadoes from early Sunday into Sunday night. Winds of 40 mph could occur in New Hanover and Pender counties Sunday night, forecasters said. One to 3 inches of rain can be expected in the watch area, with the possibility of locally higher amounts.

The storm’s passing also brings a moderate risk of rip currents along beaches in New Hanover and Pender counties, the weather service said.

Conditions are expected to improve Monday as the system moves offshore.

Claudette began as a tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico, and became a tropical storm early Saturday, once it had sustained winds of more than 39 mph. It made landfall in Louisiana Saturday morning and has been tracking northeasterly, across the Southeastern U.S., bringing thunderstorms and heavy rain to Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.

As it moved inland, the storm weakened but is expected to strengthen again as it nears the coast of North Carolina early Monday and moves offshore. Its track across the state is expected to bring rain that will start Saturday night and continue through Sunday well beyond the watch area, reaching from Charlotte, through the Piedmont and into the northeast corner of the state.

For the Triangle, the weather service is calling for showers generally starting after 3 p.m. Sunday, then continuing through Monday, with a total expected rainfall of about one and a half inches. No severe weather is expected in the Triangle.

More rain, from a different storm system, is expected to start on Tuesday.

Martha Quillin is a general assignment reporter at The News & Observer who writes about North Carolina culture, religion and social issues. She has held jobs throughout the newsroom since 1987.

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