North Carolinians: Prepare for Significant Rains from Tropical Storm Elsa

Tropical Storm Elsa possible wind arrival times. Source: US National Hurricane Center
Tropical Storm Elsa possible wind arrival times. Source: US National Hurricane Center

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and state emergency management officials are monitoring the forecast track and potential impacts from Tropical Storm Elsa and advising residents in eastern and central North Carolina to be prepared for significant rains and possible flooding.

“Residents and visitors to North Carolina should keep a close watch on the forecast for this storm,” said Governor Cooper. “It’s important that everyone be aware and prepared for rains, and it’s also important to avoid driving through floodwaters.”

The State Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh activated today to monitor the storm. The State Emergency Response Team is preparing to support local governments with any storm-related needs.

Said state Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry:  “Small changes in the forecast track of a tropical system can mean big changes in storm impacts and rainfall amounts. That’s why close attention to the forecast for your area is important.”

One to three inches of rain, with isolated totals up to 5 inches across the eastern half of the state Wednesday evening – Thursday night could lead to areas of flash flooding. Elsa is expected to quickly progress through North Carolina with a forward speed of around 20 mph, which should limit the threat of prolonged heavy rainfall.

Gusty winds and isolated tornadoes will be possible Wednesday night – Thursday night. While Elsa is currently forecast to be a strong tropical depression with sustained winds of 35 mph as it tracks across NC, a risk of tropical storm conditions remains across the eastern half of the state late Wednesday night through Thursday evening, especially along the immediate coast.

Strong winds could also lead to large seas, dangerous rip currents, and hazardous marine conditions late Wednesday – Thursday night. While significant storm surge is not expected, minor coastal flooding will be possible depending on the exact track and intensity of Elsa.

North Carolina residents should be sure they:

  • Have multiple ways to receive weather information from reliable sources.
  • 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 plan for elderly relatives and pets.
  • Make sure your insurance is up-to-date.

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.

National Hurricane Center forecasts may be found at


Source: Ford Porter, NC Office of the Governor

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