How could Tropical Storm Elsa impact the Triangle? Flash flooding is a possibility

Tropical Storm Elsa is expected to move through central North Carolina on Thursday, bringing risks of strong winds, heavy rain, localized flash flooding and isolated tornadoes.

Though Elsa is expected to weaken into a depression as it makes its way from Florida, it could pose risks to the Triangle.

“The main threat is gusty winds and isolated tornadoes,” according to ABC11, The News & Observer’s media partner.

The National Hurricane Center said strong winds could reach North Carolina by early Thursday.

The highest impacts are expected to be near and east of U.S. Highway 1. Durham, Johnston, Wake and other counties to the east could see winds reach 40 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

Another potential risk comes from heavy rain, which could measure 3 inches in some places and bring flooding, especially in urban areas and those with poor drainage, the weather service said.

In Raleigh, up to 2 inches of rain could fall during the day Thursday, with higher totals possible overnight, according to forecasters.

In Eastern North Carolina, some places along the coast could see an isolated 5 inches of rain.

As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, forecasters said Elsa was about 105 miles west of Jacksonville, Florida. The storm — which was downgraded from a hurricane overnight — has maximum sustained winds of 50 mph after making landfall along Florida’s Gulf Coast.

“A turn toward the north-northeast is expected this evening, followed by a faster northeastward motion by late Thursday,” the National Hurricane Center said.

By Friday, the forecast calls for conditions in the Triangle to be mostly sunny, with a chance for showers and thunderstorms.