Editors’ Note: The Tornado Watch has been cancelled as of 12:00 pm.
LELAND, NC (WWAY) — Tropical Storm Elsa is expected to bring strong winds and heavy rains to the Cape Fear Region today. As of this morning, the storm was located about 210 miles WSW of Wilmington.
As of 8 a.m., WWAY’s Skycam could see churned up surf at North Topsail Beach with the temperature in the lower 80’s with signs the tropical air mass had already reached the region.
A Tornado Watch remains in effect until 3 p.m. for the entire WWAY coverage area including Pender, New Hanover, Brunswick, Columbus and Bladen counties.
Stormtrack 3 Radar showed heavier downpours in western portions of Bladen and Columbus counties. There has also been lightning and thunder associated with these early morning storms.
A few wind gusts of 35 to 45 mph are possible especially within any heavier bands of showers/thunderstorms and offshore, the National Weather Service said. There is also an extreme high rip current risk at local beaches and the rip current risk will likely remain elevated into Friday.
“Elsa could bring us spin-up tornadoes over the next several hours all the way through the middle of the day as the tropical storm continues to accelerate north and east of our region,” said WWAY Meteorologist Ramel Carpenter.
WWAY’s Pinpoint Futurecast indicates some of those downpours will stick around this afternoon as the storm passes just west of the Cape Fear.
The National Weather Service said heavy rain across the coastal Carolinas may produce isolated flash and urban flooding through late this afternoon. Isolated tornadoes are also possible, with several warnings already issued this morning.
“As we get into the evening, conditions will slowly but surely start to improve,” Carpenter said.
According to the Associated Press, Tropical Storm Elsa has left at least one person dead in Florida and injured several at a campground at a Navy base in Georgia. The storm churned through southeast Georgia Wednesday night, hours after making landfall in Florida.
One person was killed in Jacksonville, Florida, when a tree fell onto a car, and in Georgia, a possible tornado struck a park for recreational vehicles, hospitalizing about 10 people.
A tropical storm watch is extended up the East Coast to Massachusetts.