Weather

Hurricane Irma update: What to expect in the Triangle and NC on Monday

The Triangle probably will get some rain and perhaps a drenching Tuesday, but most of the region is expected to escape much trouble as Hurricane Irma works up the west coast of Florida during the day and then moves into western Georgia.

In a briefing Monday morning, officials at North Carolina’s Emergency Operations Center said they expect 2-4 inches of rain in the western part of the state, 1-2 inches in central counties and 1-3 inches in the southeast.

A coastal storm surge of 1-3 feet is expected, they said.

Southeast of the Triangle, there is a chance that “an isolated weak tornado or two” could form late Monday or early Tuesday, the National Weather Service in Raleigh said.

West of Alamance and Chatham counties, a high-wind advisory was posted, and forecasters told residents to expect steady wind at 15 to 25 mph and frequent gusts up to 40 mph.

On the coast, forecasters said very rough surf and waves several feet high were likely south of Cape Hatteras, along with strong rip currents, and that could last a few days.

In the southeast corner of the state, forecasters in Wilmington said to expect stiff winds from the east all day Monday. They said they expected steady 20-to-30-mph wind and gusts up to 50 mph.

The North Carolina mountains were under a wind advisory until early Tuesday. The area was in for heavy rain Monday, too.

“Eventually the atmosphere will moisten up enough for rain to begin falling tonight,” ABC11 meteorologist Don Schwenneker said. “Along with the rain it will become increasingly windy. Afternoon gusts can reach 30 mph with some gusts up to 35 mph tonight.”

State officials in North Carolina said Sunday that they were still watching carefully where Irma tracks.

Irma was a Category 1 hurricane Monday morning with 75 mph sustained winds. It was expected to weaken to a tropical storm as it slogged into Georgia on Monday night and then aimed for western Tennessee.

On Sunday, there had been much heavier rain forecast for the mountains – as much as a foot in places – and that much water could produce dangerous flash flooding.

The N.C. National Guard staged about 315 soldiers and airmen in Charlotte, Greensboro and Asheville on Sunday because of the forecast, according to Gov. Roy Cooper’s office.

The state has five shelters open for people coming from outside the state to get out of Irma’s way.

The shelters are in Gaston, Guilford, Henderson, Johnston and Mecklenburg counties.

Ron Gallagher: 919-829-4572, @RPGKT

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