By Sarah Nagem
Much of southeastern North Carolina is under tropical storm and flood advisories on Wednesday as Hurricane Idalia approaches.
In the Border Belt region, Bladen, Columbus, Robeson and Scotland counties are under a tropical storm warning Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service in Wilmington. The counties are under a flood watch until 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Parts of the region, including Lumberton and Elizabethtown, could see up to 8 inches of rain on Wednesday and Thursday, forecasters say. Whiteville could see up to 6 inches of rain.
Idalia, which made landfall in Florida as a Category 3 hurricane just before 8 a.m. Wednesday, has weakened throughout the day. It was a Category 1 storm as it lashed Georgia on Wednesday afternoon.
In southeastern North Carolina, “the heaviest rain and potential for flooding is likely to occur this evening and overnight,” the National Weather Service said in its 5 a.m. update Wednesday.
Winds are expected to increase late Wednesday and early Thursday, according to forecasters. Robeson County could see winds up to 26 mph after midnight, with gusts reaching 38 mph. In Columbus County, gusts could reach 37 mph.
The risk of tornadoes will be greatest between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. Wednesday, according to forecasters. Wind speeds could reach 25 mph, with 35 mph gusts.
Robeson County public schools and Robeson Community College will cancel classes Thursday due to the storm.
Some counties said government offices will open later than usual on Thursday.
N.C. Gov. Roy declared a state of emergency on Monday ahead of the storm. He urged residents to make sure they have multiple ways to communicate and to plan to stay with families and friends in case of an evacuation.
“Public shelters should be a last resort,” Cooper said in a news release.
Go to readync.gov for storm-related updates and resources.
Idalia’s impacts could linger into Thursday night, but sunny days are head: The National Weather Service in Wilmington says skies will clear Friday and remain that way through the weekend.