Tropical Storm Elsa is dumping “torrential rains” over the Carolinas as it moves through the region Thursday.
Elsa was located 45 miles west of Florence, South Carolina, and 150 miles southwest of Raleigh, North Carolina, as of 8 a.m. Thursday. The storm was moving northeast at 18 mph with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph. Tropical storm force winds — which range from 39 mph to 73 mph — extend up to 115 miles.
Parts of North Carolina and South Carolina are experiencing tropical storm conditions Thursday morning.
A tropical storm warning is in effect from South Santee River, South Carolina, to as far north as New Hampshire, including Eastern North Carolina, as of 8 a.m. The warning for south of South Santee River was discontinued.
“A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area,” the National Hurricane Center says.
Portions of Central North Carolina are under a flash flood watch until 6 p.m., the National Weather Service says.
Elsa’s winds were expected to reach North Carolina as early as 8 a.m. and are forecast to reach the northern part of the state as early as 2 p.m., the NHC says.
The storm is expected to continue dumping rain on the Carolinas through Thursday.
Parts of South Carolina could get between 3 and 5 inches of rain with up to 8 inches possible in some areas. It could lead to “limited flash and urban flooding,” forecasters say.
Eastern and Central North Carolina could get 2 to 4 inches with up to 6 inches possible in some areas, which could lead to “limited-to-considerable flash and urban flooding” and “isolated minor river flooding,” the NHC says.
A “few tornadoes” are possible in eastern North and South Carolina through Thursday afternoon.
The NWS says an elevated risk of rip currents associated with Elsa will remain along the coast likely through Friday.
The entire South Carolina coast and most of the North Carolina coast were under a high risk of rip currents as of Thursday morning, indicating that “life-threatening rip currents are likely,” the NWS says. People are advised to stay out of the water under a high risk as the “surf zone is dangerous to all levels of swimmers.”
Elsa’s path as of 8 a.m. shows it remaining a tropical storm as it moves over the Carolinas. It’s expected to become a post-tropical cyclone Friday night or Saturday.
“On the forecast track, Elsa will move over South Carolina and North Carolina today, pass near the eastern mid-Atlantic states by tonight, and move near or over the northeastern United States on Friday and Friday night,” the NHC said at 8 a.m.
Elsa has weakened since Wednesday, but forecasters say some restrengthening is possible Thursday night and Friday as it moves toward the northeast.