Jul. 7—As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, the center of Tropical Storm Elsa was located inland about 115 miles west-southwest of Brunswick, Ga., accompanied by extremely heavy rains.
It's moving north near 14 mph. A turn toward the north-northeast is expected Wednesday evening, followed by a faster northeastward motion by late Thursday. On the forecast track, Elsa will move over Georgia Wednesday evening, over South Carolina early Thursday, over North Carolina later on Thursday, and move near or over the mid-Atlantic coast on Friday.
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Pender, New Hanover, and Brunswick County and the coastal marine waters from Surf City to Little River Inlet.
Across eastern North Carolina into southeastern Virginia, one to three inches of rain with isolated totals up to five inches tonight through Thursday night, which could lead to isolated flash and urban flooding.
A few tornadoes are possible today and tonight across northern Florida and southeastern Georgia into eastern South Carolina. The tornado threat should shift to the eastern Carolinas and far southeast Virginia on Thursday.
Steven Still, NHC Emergency Management director, said New Hanover County isn't expecting major impacts from the storm:
"We want to take this time to remind people that you have what you need and preparedness plans are in place as we progress into the peak hurricane season," he said.
Pender County Emergency Management officials are urging residents to use caution, be prepared for possible power outages and local flooding.
In a news release, Manager Tommy Batson reminded residents that Elsa has the potential to bring heavy rainfall, dangerous rip currents, and tornadoes as early as Wednesday night through Thursday evening.
"If a tornado warning occurs in your area, seek shelter in the interior of your home," Batson said. "Be sure to secure all pets as well. "
With some streets prone to flooding, Emergency Management officials are asking the public to avoid areas already flooded, especially if the water is flowing too fast. Roadbeds may be washed out under flood waters. Batson also advised drivers not to cross flowing streams.
"Never drive through flooded roadways," Batson said. "You don't know the condition of the road under the water. Turn Around Don't Drown is more than a cliché. It is an important warning to heed."
The storm has the potential of creating dangerous rip currents, which are channeled currents of water flowing away from shore at surf beaches. Officials said they typically extend from near the shoreline, through the surf zone and past the line of breaking waves.
"Rip currents speeds vary, but at 5 mph, a rip current moves faster than an Olympic swimmer," Batson said.
Pender County Emergency Management officials are asking residents to stay alert to local weather stations. Residents can sign up for the CodeRed alert system for free at https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/9FB534DFBC93 or call 910-259-1210.
Additional information is also available at https://www.pendercountync.gov/em/ or the Pender County Emergency Management Facebook page.
"It is the hurricane season," Batson said. "Residents should review your personal emergency plan and know your evacuation routes. Check your emergency supply kit, which should contain food, water, prescription medicines, charging cords, batteries, and other essentials to support your family for several days. Be sure to plan for elderly relatives and pets. And make certain your insurance is up-to-date."
According to Deputy Brunswick County Emergency Services Deputy Director Scott Garner, the county is waiting on its next update from the National Weather Service before any information is sent out, which is expected at 1:30 p.m.
Brunswick County Commissioner Pat Sykes said the board has not yet been briefed on the storm, which only recently made landfall in Florida.
Heavy rains are expected across the coastal Carolinas, which could bring isolated flash and urban flooding tonight through Thursday evening. The area could also see Isolated tornadoes tonight and into Thursday, according to the National Weather Service in Wilmington.
Many roads throughout the Cape Fear area are prone to flooding. While significant surge impacts are not expected, minor coastal flooding is possible. Other potential dangers include a high rip current risk and Tropical-storm-force winds are possible, especially in gusts 35 to 45 mph are possible late tonight through Thursday afternoon.
According to the weather service, residents might see damage to porches, awnings, carports, sheds, and unanchored mobile homes. Unsecured lightweight objects may be blown about, and some large limbs may break from trees. A few shallow rooted or weak trees may snap or be knocked down. Scattered power and communications outages are also possible.
Conditions should improve by Thursday evening as the system moves to the northeast away from the area. However, the rip current risk will likely remain elevated into Friday.
As Elsa approached Florida, the storm had winds of 65 miles per hour. The storm is expected to weaken further by the time it affects northeast South Carolina and southeast North Carolina.
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