The outer bands of Tropical Storm Isaias have been producing heavy downpours across northeastern North Carolina throughout the day, as the system moves closer to making landfall Tuesday morning just south of Wilmington.
While the biggest threat to the Outer Banks continues to be deadly rip currents and the potential for ocean overwash and soundside storm surge beginning early Tuesday, tropical storm force winds, heavy rainfall, and a few tornadoes are also possible.
The new advisory from the National Hurricane Center at 5 p.m. Monday continues to predict Isaias will regain hurricane status before making its full passage through North Carolina.
“Whether it’s labeled a tropical storm or a hurricane, you should take this storm seriously,” said Governor Roy Cooper during a press conference Monday. “Make sure your family is ready. And that includes taking care of your pets too.”
A tropical storm warning is posted for the eastern half of North Carolina, while a storm surge warning is in effect from Oregon Inlet to the Virginia border and includes the Pamlico and Albemarle sounds and adjacent waters.
The latest peak wind forecast predicts 35-45 mph sustained winds and gusts up to 60 mph expected along the Outer Banks. The highest winds will be early Tuesday morning through Tuesday afternoon.
“Ocean conditions will worsen and tornadoes remain a possibility,” said Dare County Emergency Management Director Drew Pearson. “Storm surge inundation may reach 2-to-4 feet above normally dry ground.”
“Secure outdoor items and move vehicles and property from flood prone areas especially in areas flooded by southerly winds and near vulnerable ocean dune structures on Hatteras Island,” Pearson said.
“Soundside water levels can be monitored at https://fiman.nc.gov/,” Pearson added. “As conditions deteriorate overnight, it will be important to keep your cell phone charged and turned on with public safety alerts enabled.”
Water levels along the sounds, adjacent rivers and creeks are already high in many places, particularly from Manteo to Kitty Hawk.
Live video from Frying Pan Shoals Light Tower, 25 miles off Cape Fear and just east of the projected path of the center of Isaias:
This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.