The tropical weather system that has been forming off the Southeast coast is expected to bring as much as seven inches of rain to parts of coastal North Carolina.
Whether or not the system becomes a named tropical storm, forecasters are warning residents of possible flash flooding associated with the system. The area is under a flash flood watch, and portions of Eastern North Carolina, including Craven, Jones, Pamlico and Carteret counties, are under a tropical storm warning.
Craven County Schools announced a two-hour delay to the start of classes on Tuesday.
Rainfall started falling along coastal areas Monday and began moving inland. It is expected to continue until sometime Tuesday morning. According to models provided by the National Weather Service in Newport, the Kinston, Trenton and New Bern areas are expected to see 4 to 6 inches of rain, while the Outer Banks area could see as much as 7 inches.
Along with the rain, high winds are expected, with gusts of 50 mph possible along the coast, 40 to 45 mph in Craven, Pamlico and Jones counties, and 20 to 30 mph in Lenoir County.
During a briefing on the storm, Meteorologist Rich Bandy with the National Weather Service warned that recent wet weather combined with the current storm could result in flash flooding in some low lying areas.
The storm should begin to move away from the coast Tuesday afternoon and be out to sea by Wednesday morning.
As of Monday afternoon, the center of the system was located just off the South Carolina-Georgia coast and moving northeast. It was expected to move through coastal North Carolina and be centered along the Outer Banks by Tuesday afternoon.
The storm was already impacting the area with high water. Ferries between Cherry Branch and Minnesott Beach stopped running Tuesday afternoon because water levels on the Neuse River were too high for the boats to safely dock. Water was already coming up around the walkway at Union Point Park in New Bern, and water along Jack Smith Creek at National Avenue was rising, though coastal flooding from the storm is not expected to be severe in Craven and Pamlico counties.
If nothing else, the storm is a reminder that the peak of the hurricane season is approaching in a couple of weeks. And, the National Hurricane Center has its eye on a developing system off the coast of Africa that it says has the potential to develop into a tropical system in the coming days.