Hurricane Ian made landfall near Fort Myers, Florida, Wednesday and has since been downgraded to a tropical storm. It is moving across the Sunshine State at 8 miles per hour and will make its track north as it moves into the Atlantic.
Officials project it could strengthen to a Category 1 before making a second landfall, expected near Charleston, South Carolina, by Friday.
The National Weather Service has issued tropical storm warnings up the coast of the Carolinas. A tropical storm watch has also been issued in inland areas of South Carolina.
Odds are 30% to 50% that the North Carolina coast will experience high-end tropical storm to low-end hurricane conditions.
Wind gusts and rain have increased in northeast South Carolina. From Charleston to Myrtle Beach, sustained winds could top 73 miles per hour (a Cat 1 hurricane is defined having 74 to 95 mile-per-hour winds).
As it moves across the North Carolina border, winds are expected to be anywhere from 39 to 57 miles per hour.
In Wilmington to Surf City projected gusts are 35 miles per hour; Bald Head could experience 50 mile-per-hour windy conditions. Tornadoes are possible, with increased risks on Friday.
Areas with highest winds could experience downed trees, limbs and power lines. There could also be damage to roofing, siding, and awnings. Securing objects is recommended ahead of the tropical storm’s approach.
Rainfall and possible flooding remains of concern, especially in low-lying areas. Heavy rains will arrive mostly on Friday, with 4 to 6 inches expected in many areas. Portions of northeast South Carolina may experience up to 8 inches of rain.
Storm surge will intensify at high tide Thursday and last through Saturday, with the worst expected Friday around 11:30 a.m. Areas — bays, waterways, and tidal creeks— between Little River, South Carolina, and Cape Lookout in North Carolina could rise 1 to 3 feet.
A coastal flood advisory goes into effect Thursday at 2 p.m. Hazardous marine conditions are also expected through Saturday.
“Weakening is expected Friday night and Saturday after Ian moves inland,” the NWS reported.
Wednesday, Governor Cooper signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in North Carolina, which will trigger laws against price-gouging and allows transportation flexibility to help deploy resources as needed to impacted areas.
Municipalities in the area are also making plans.
In Brunswick County, residents with special needs are encouraged to register with the emergency services department by calling (910) 253-5383 or completing the special medical needs form online.
Located 7 miles off the coast of Southport, Bald Head Island village operations are scheduled to run normally as planned Thursday, though barge service may be suspended at any time through Friday (it does not operate on weekends), which could delay UPS and FedEx deliveries. USPS mail will not be impacted. The ferry is running per normal as of Thursday morning; all schedule changes can be accessed here.
This report will be updated with more local information and emergency details as it becomes available throughout Thursday.
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