RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) — Hurricane Ian is closing in on North Carolina, with rain and wind intensifying across the region.
Hurricane Ian made landfall as a Category 1 storm near Georgetown, South Carolina.
The National Weather Service said the storm will now begin to weaken rapidly as it spreads inland through South Carolina and North Carolina.
Ian’s rain will continue in North Carolina through Friday evening.
Ian is expected to become a post-tropical cyclone overnight and dissipate on Saturday.
The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for all of eastern North Carolina until 10 p.m.
A tornado watch means conditions are favorable for tornadoes to form. This does not mean that tornadoes are imminent.
The ABC11 First Alert weather team said the risk of tornadoes during this particular storm was low but possible.
Ian’s forecast in North Carolina
Ian is expected to make landfall early Friday afternoon near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
However, almost all of the storm’s rain is located north of its center. That’s why the rain bands arrived in North Carolina early Friday morning — and it’s also why the majority 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 are going to see a lot of rain and a lot of wind.
ABC11 meteorologist Kweilyn Murphy said most of us can expect between 2 and 6 inches of rain on Friday. Although isolated areas will receive heavier showers which will amount to over 6 inches. Isolated flooding will be possible in and around these areas.
In North Carolina, the strongest winds from the storm will occur closer to the South Carolina border. These areas around the Sandhills will definitely experience sustained winds near 40 miles per hour. As the storm moves north and west, it (and its winds) will weaken.
For North Carolina, wind and rain will be the most important factors with this storm system.
The gusts of wind, which started picking up on Thursday, will continue through Friday, with some gusts reaching 50 or 60 miles per hour.
Those strong winds combined with saturated ground could knock down trees, endangering power lines. Electrical crews 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 for at least a little while.
If you lose power, you should contact your power company. Here is a list numbers to call and other advice in the event of a power outage.
Widespread flooding and rising rivers are not major threats. However, flash floods are a big concern. Indeed, some regions will experience periods of heavy showers.
As with most storms, tornadoes are possible. However, in this case, they are not susceptible.
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North Carolina prepares for Ian
On Thursday afternoon, Governor Roy Cooper provided an update on the state’s preparations.
Cooper urged North Carolinians to pay close attention to the weather and take necessary action as the remnants of Hurricane Ian approach the state.
“Hurricane Ian reminds us 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 lead to flooding. Landslides are a threat in our mountains and there is a risk of tornadoes statewide. Coastal flooding and Gusty winds are likely as the storm passes. This storm is still dangerous.”
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