Flash flood watch issued, 2 to 3 inches of rain expected

The possibility of flash flooding has prompted the National Weather Service to add Craven and Pamlico counties to its list of areas that are under a flash flood watch.

Craven, Pamlico, Carteret, Pitt and Beaufort counties were added to the watch list Sunday afternoon, extending the watch that was issued earlier Sunday for Jones, Onslow, Lenoir, Duplin and Greene counties.

The heaviest rainfall is expected to occur Monday afternoon into early Tuesday morning, according to the weather service office in Newport.

The New Bern, Havelock and Bayboro areas are expected to see 2 to 3 inches of rain, while areas just west and south, including Trenton, Jacksonville and Kinston, could see 3 to 4 inches of rain, according to forecasters. Some spots could see 6 inches of rain, depending on where storms may form.

All the rain is coming from a low pressure system that is expected to strengthen off the Carolina coast on Monday and slowly move across Eastern North Carolina on Tuesday. The system is not tropical in nature.

Rounds of heavy rain are expected to develop Monday, with some isolated severe thunderstorms possible, according to the weather service. The heaviest rainfall is expected to move out of the area by Tuesday morning, though scattered rain is still in the forecast through Tuesday evening.

The weather service predicts a marginal risk of damaging winds, and perhaps isolated tornadoes across the area. A marginal risk means that the weather situation would be limited in duration and/or coverage and/or intensity, according to the weather service. Winds in these severe storms could hit 60 mph.

Meanwhile, easterly gale force winds are expected along the coast Monday afternoon, with winds of 25 to 35 mph are expected, with gusts up to 45 mph possible in Carteret County. A gale warning has been issued for coastal waters, including Pamlico Sound.

Waves could reach 10 to 14 feet along the beaches, though highest north of Cape Lookout. The risk of strong rip currents is high, and water levels in the Neuse River could be affected, which could disrupt ferry service from Cherry Branch to Minnesott Beach.

High temperatures Monday should hit about 75 with a low of 63. Tuesday should feature clearing skies and a high of 77. The rest of the work week looks pleasant, according to the weather service, with high temperatures climbing into the middle 80s under sunny skies by the end of the week and into the early part of the weekend.