RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper activated the State Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh on Tuesday to monitor Tropical Storm Elsa that is expected to reach the Triangle as a tropical depression early Thursday.
Hurricane watches have already been issued for parts of the west coast of Florida where it is expected to make landfall in Tampa Bay on Wednesday.
Cooper said the Triangle needs to be prepared for significant rains and possible flooding and is urging residents to monitor the storm.
While the 60-plus mile per hour winds in Florida are not expected to reach the Triangle, North Carolina is expected to see winds beginning Thursday morning between 35 and 40 mph.
“Residents and visitors to North Carolina should keep a close watch on the forecast for this storm,” Cooper said. “It’s important that everyone be aware and prepared for rains, and it’s also important to avoid driving through floodwaters.”
Cooper added that Elsa’s main impacts, as of noon Tuesday, for North Carolina will be rain and breezy conditions with the chance for flooding.
As of now, The Triangle is expected to see one to three inches of rainfall, but that number could rise as high as five inches.
“Small changes in the forecast track of a tropical system can mean big changes in storm impacts and rainfall amounts,” state Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry said. “That’s why close attention to the forecast for your area is important.”
Elsa is expected to move out of The Triangle and into Virginia by Friday morning.
Until then, Triangle residents are encouraged to identify multiple ways to receive weather information, make and review a personal emergency plan, know his or her evacuation routes, create and update his or her emergency supply kit, plan for pets and update personal and home insurances.
CBS 17 will continue tracking Elsa and provide updates regularly.