Hermine downgraded to tropical storm as it begins to affect Cape Fear Coast

PortCityDaily.com is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

Hermine has been downgraded to a tropical storm as it hits the Carolinas Friday. Courtesy of the National Weather Service.
Hermine has been downgraded to a tropical storm as it hits the Carolinas Friday. Courtesy of the National Weather Service.

As Hermine crossed land early Friday morning on its way to the Carolinas, it weakened down to a tropical storm, according to the National Weather Service’s latest update.

New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties remain under a tropical storm warning and a flash flood watch as rain has begun to fall in the area. Between four to seven inches of rain is expected between now and Saturday morning, and forecaster say the greatest flood risk will occur Friday night.

Brunswick County is also now on a tornado watch through 4 p.m. Friday. There is also a slight risk for tornadoes to form in New Hanover and Pender counties, but no official watches have been declared as of 9 a.m. Friday.

The possibility for strong winds will increase as the day goes on, according to forecasters. Gusts between 45 to 55 miles per hour are possible and could knock down trees and utility poles, causing power outages in the area.

Strong rip currents and high waves are expected in the waters off the coast due to the strong winds. Conditions will be particularly dangerous at inlet entrances.

All storm effects are expected to lessen or dissipate completely by Saturday morning. Motorists are encouraged not to drive through flooded roadways and other areas.