Tropical storm watch issued for Beaufort County

Published 7:25 pm Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Beaufort County Emergency Services personnel are keeping an eye on Michael’s track and what it could mean for Beaufort County residents.

Tuesday evening, the National Weather Service issued a tropical storm watch for Beaufort County. As always, the effects of the storm hinge on where Michael goes and how well the storm sticks together after it makes landfall Wednesday in Florida, according to Chris Newkirk, Beaufort County chief of fire/emergency management.

If Michael tracks east of current forecasts, residents could see more of an impact as it moves through eastern North Carolina on Thursday.

“We’ve pretty much been told 20-30 mph sustained (winds) but if the storm tracks east, that could go up by about 5 to 10 mph,” Newkirk said. “If it tracks a little further east, instead of seeing 2 to 4 inches (of rain), we could possibly see 3 to 6 inches. What makes that rain so broad is we know there are going to be pockets of heavy rainfall. You could have 2 inches in Washington and 4 inches in Aurora.”

Flash flooding could be possible in areas that are already prone to flooding during heavy rains, and Michael could bring minor river flooding, as most rivers are still running above normal after Hurricane Florence, according to NWS.

A summary from Beaufort County Emergency Services is as follows:

  • Michael will continue to slowly track toward the Florida panhandle and is expected to make landfall as a Category 3 hurricane during the day.
  • Michael will quickly downgrade to a tropical storm/depression after making landfall, and increase in travel speed as it moves across the eastern U.S. through Friday.

The remnants of Michael are expected to impact Beaufort County on Thursday as follows:

  • Rain will begin to move into our area Wednesday night, and continue through Friday morning; 2-to-4 inches of rain are expected during this time.
  • Winds will begin to increase Thursday morning, becoming sustained at 20–30 mph during the afternoon and into Friday morning. Gusts of 35-mph-plus are possible.
  • Isolated tornados are possible from Wednesday through Friday.

“Impact-wise, we’re pretty comfortable with what’s been projected so far and what’s been shared,” Newkirk said.

The NWS update encouraged those beneath the tropical storm watch to check your emergency plan and emergency supplies kit and take necessary actions to protect your family and secure your home or business.