WILMINGTON — Monday morning, Tropical Storm Emily formed off the coast of Florida. The storm, which was initially not expected to become stronger than a tropical depression, is currently moving inland from Tampa, Fla., and will cross into the Atlantic Ocean over the next 24 hours.
— NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites) July 31, 2017
According to Reid Hawkins, Science Officer with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, Emily is expected to move up the Atlantic coast, and will likely continue up the eastern seaboard, passing off the coast of the southeastern North Carolina early Wednesday morning.
Tropical Storm Emily will be the first named storm to travel close to the Port City this year. After Hurricane Matthew brought heavy flooding to parts of Southeastern North Carolina in October 2016, what can residents of the Cape Fear region expect?
According to Hawkins, not very much. He said that, while this storm currently has wind gusts closing in on 60 mph and it is producing significant rainfall over Florida, the threat to this area is relatively low.
The storm is currently over land and is not to predicted to gain much strength in the coming days.
“We had a cold front push through late last week, so this storm will more than likely follow in its path, staying offshore,” Hawkins said.
He said that Emily will come within approximately 100 to 150 miles off the North Carolina coast, and although we may see a few showers and thunderstorms, there’s enough dry air in place to keep the worst of the storms well away from the east coast.
Hawkins says the biggest concern for North Carolinians will be an increase in wave activity along the coast. With winds steadily churning offshore, winds will increase potential for rip tides, and potentially dangerous swells for boats, from early Wednesday through Thursday afternoon.
“The biggest concern will certainly be for marine activities,” he said.
While this may be the first storm to affect the Carolinas this year, it’s important to note Hurricane Season remains active from June 1 to Nov. 30.
If you’re heading out on the water this week, plan accordingly, and be sure to stay up to date on the latest forecasts at weather.gov/ilm. To track Tropical Storm Emily, visit weather.gov/ilm/tropics.