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North Carolina Feels Effects of Tropical Storm Elsa

As North Carolina begins to feel the effects of Tropical Storm Elsa, Governor Roy Cooper and state emergency management officials are reminding residents to be prepared for possible power outages and to avoid driving through floodwaters.

“Residents and visitors to North Carolina should keep safety in mind as Tropical Storm Elsa passes through our state today,” said Governor Cooper. “Everyone should stay alert to rapidly changing weather conditions and have a plan should they need to move to another location.”

Driving on flooded roads should be avoided. When water is moving across a roadway, you don’t know what’s underneath the water. The surface of the road could be weakened or washed away, and you could be driving into a hole. Turn Around, Don’t Drown.

The State Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh is tracking the storm’s progress. The State Emergency Response Team is ready to support local governments with any storm-related needs.

“The storm’s impacts can vary by location,” said North Carolina Emergency Management Chief of Staff Will Ray. “Heavy rain, gusty winds, flooding, tornados and power outages are all possible with this storm, so please pay close attention to the forecast for your area."

Conditions will continue to deteriorate through the morning as Tropical Storm Elsa moves northeastward. Elsa is forecast to remain at tropical storm strength while moving through North Carolina today.

  • The heaviest rains are forecast for Central NC, but overall 1-3” with localized totals of 5” are possible statewide through Thursday evening. A Flash Flood Watch is in effect for much of the Piedmont and Coastal Plain.
  • The eastern half of NC is under a slight risk for excessive rainfall, with a marginal risk for excessive rainfall into the Foothills. Periods of heavy rainfall Thursday may lead to isolated to scattered flash flooding.
  • The strongest wind gusts, reaching or exceeding tropical storm force, are expected in eastern NC where a Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect. Isolated power outages as a result of downed trees will remain possible with heavy rain and gusty winds.
  • Wind gusts 30-55 mph are possible for Eastern NC, with the strongest gusts along the Coast.
  • Wind gusts 25-35 mph are possible for Central NC, with the strongest gusts expected east of the US-1 corridor.
  • Wind gusts up to 25 mph are possible for western NC, with the strongest gusts expected in the Foothills.
  • Areas along the Coast are under a slight risk (level 2 of 5) for severe weather, with a marginal risk (level 1 of 5) in place for the Coastal Plain.
  • The greatest potential for severe weather today, including tornadoes, will be along and east of the I-95 corridor.
  • A Tornado Watch is in effect for southeastern NC through 9AM today. The watch may be expanded or extended as Elsa moves through the region.
  • Tornado Warnings have already been issued this morning within the risk area. Maintain several ways to receive weather alerts in case a Tornado Warning is issued for your area.
  • Significant storm surge is not expected but minor water level rise (up to 2 ft above ground level) is possible along the Coast, especially north of Cape Hatteras. An elevated rip current risk will remain along NC beaches through this week.
  • Conditions will begin to improve Thursday afternoon from south to north as Tropical Storm Elsa begins to move out of the region.

North Carolina residents should be sure they:

  • Have multiple ways to receive emergency weather alerts
  • Review your personal emergency plan and know your evacuation routes.
  • Check your emergency supply kit, which should contain food, water, prescription medicines, charging cords, batteries and other essentials to support your family for several days.
  • Be sure to look out for elderly relatives and pets.

To prepare for possible power outages, or if your power goes out, remember these tips:

  • Make sure your cell phone and other electronic or medical devices are fully charged, along with any backup batteries
  • Don’t park your car under trees or power lines
  • Use battery powered lights, instead of candles, if your power goes out
  • Avoid running generators or grills in your home or garage if your power goes out. Deadly carbon monoxide fumes can accumulate while using generators or grills indoors. 

For more information on how to ensure your family is disaster ready, go to, which features traffic, power outage and shelter information. Also, check to see if your local community offers an emergency alert service for its residents.