Few changes as Sandy nears Carolinas; coastal flooding at Carolina Beach, Southport

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Hurricane Sandy was about 250 miles south-southeast of Wilmington as of the 2 p.m. National Weather Service update. She is moving toward the northeast at about 11 mph. This general motion is expected to continue through Sunday.

Sandy is expected to stay off the coast, but tropical-storm conditions are likely for the entire Cape Fear region. Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender counties remain under a tropical storm warning.

Tropical storm-like conditions—wind, rain and storm surge—are expected to begin in the Cape Fear area Saturday evening.

Sandy’s maximum sustained winds are near 75 mph, with stronger gusts. Forecasters predict little overall changes in strengths or forecasts during the next few days.

Locally, winds gusts have been reported between 25-30 mph across the area. The winds will likely increase throughout the afternoon and evening.  Wind gusts of 40-50 mph are possible.

Minor coastal flooding has been reported Saturday morning in Southport and Carolina Beach. Canal Drive in Carolina Beach has significant flooding, and many roads between Canal Drive and Carolina Beach Avenue have been closed.