GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – Hurricane Franklin and Tropical Storm Idalia are still expected to bring impacts to ENC this week.
As of the 11 PM advisory Monday night, Franklin is still a major Category 4 hurricane. Since the last advisory, there has been little change in strength. Maximum sustained winds were near 150 mph with gusts approaching 185 mph. Franklin’s path is forecast to get within 300 miles of the Outer Banks staying well off the coast before it heads out to sea.
As for local impacts from Franklin, inland areas will be spared from all of the potential impacts. However, big ocean swells will cause headaches along our coast. Beachgoers should expect to see dangerous rip current threats for the rest of the week. First from Franklin and then Idalia. Beach erosion and coastal flooding will also be an issue for some communities at high tide due to a King Tide. A king tide is a higher-than-normal tide thanks to a full or new moon. Major flooding is unlikely, but ocean overwash along Highway 12 and other usual trouble spots along the coast will be possible around high tide (6 a.m. and 6 p.m.).
Next up is Tropical Storm Idalia. As of the 11 PM update Monday evening, Idalia was moving to the north at 8 mph. Maximum sustained winds have increased to 70 mph. Hurricane Watches and Warnings are now up for some parts of Florida’s west coast. As the storm moves into the Gulf of Mexico, Idalia is expected to strengthen to a category 3 hurricane before making landfall near the northwest Florida coast Wednesday morning.
There is a danger of life-threatening storm surge inundation along portions of the Florida Gulf Coast where Storm Surge Warnings are in effect from the Tampa Bay area, to the Big Bend region of Florida. Tropical Storm warnings have been issued for parts of the South Carolina coast.
We will have to watch for impacts from this system here in eastern North Carolina. Any rain between now and Wednesday afternoon won’t be associated with a tropical system. But it’s important to track because the more rain we see now, the more the rain later this week could lead to flash flooding. Duplin County and parts of Pitt County have already seen several inches. Heavy rain and windy conditions increase late Wednesday night from 8 PM to midnight. Heavy rain and wind linger into Thursday morning before Idalia begins to pull away. As far as impacts from Idalia, we’re expecting up to 6″ along the coast from Surf City to Hatteras. Spots inland could see 2-4 inches and we’re expecting a sharp drop-off as you head further to I-95 or north to the state line. Sustained winds could reach 20-30 mph inland and 30-40 mph with gusts near 50 mph along the coast. Flash flooding is the main threat but isolated power outages or trees down are possible too. Of course, all this depends on the track. If the track moves north or south, impacts could grow or shrink. If Idalia goes back over water too soon, it could try to become a hurricane again as it passes by. There’s a lot to watch over the next few days. It’s also a good time to take a look at your hurricane plan and supplies even if the threat shifts.
Stay with WITN and WITN.COM as we continue to track Franklin and Idalia throughout the week.