RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — As Isaias strengthened to a hurricane and beared down on North Carolina Monday night, several counties east of Raleigh were added to a tornado watch.
Sampson County was placed on a hurricane watch at 5 p.m.
Then, at 8:50 p.m., Edgecombe, Halifax, Nash, Wayne and Wilson counties were added to the watch area.
That coincided with the National Hurricane Center announcing that Isaias’ sustained winds were up to 85 mph — after being at 70 mph just four hours earlier.
The National Weather Service said a few tornadoes are likely overnight and that isolated damaging wind gusts up to 70 mph were possible.
The watch area includes the towns of Enfield, Goldsboro, Nashville, Princeville, Roanoke Rapids, Rocky Mount, Scotland Neck, Spring Hope, Tarboro, and Wilson.
The watch ends at 6 a.m. Tuesday.
The center of Isaias passed about 50 miles offshore of Charleston on Monday evening. Forecasters warned earlier of possible major flooding, but the storm passed faster than expected and only about a dozen streets were flooded.
Farther up the coast into North Carolina, the hurricane center predicted storm surges of 3 to 5 feet when Isaias moves onshore.
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