By Sarah Nagem
Hurricane Ian is bringing rain to southeastern North Carolina on Friday, and forecasters warn of the potential for storm surge, flooding, tornadoes and power outages.
The storm is expected to make landfall along the South Carolina coast on Friday afternoon as a Category 1 hurricane, according to the National Weather Service in Wilmington.
Southeastern North Carolina could see 4 to 6 inches of rain, and some areas could see up to 8 inches.
Bladen, Columbus, Robeson and Scotland counties are among several areas under a tropical storm watch, according to the National Weather Service. A flood watch is also in effect.
The three counties could see winds of 58 mph to 73 mph, forecasters say. Downed trees could litter roads with debris and cause power outages. Winds could also damage porches, awnings and other structures.
Ian made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane in southwest Florida on Wednesday, lashing the state with 155 mph winds. Millions of utility customers in Florida were still without power on Friday.
In North Carolina, heavy rain could cause flash floods on Friday, the National Weather Service said, and isolated tornadoes could form throughout the day. Coastal flooding is likely, along with storm surge.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency on Wednesday ahead of the storm.
“A State of Emergency is needed now so that farmers and those preparing for the storm can more quickly get ready for the heavy rain that is likely to fall in much of our state,” Cooper said in a news release. “North Carolinians should stay aware, keep a close eye on the forecast and prepare their emergency supplies.”
Weather conditions are expected to clear on Saturday.
To keep with the latest forecasts and storm updates, go to www.weather.gov/ilm.