Tropical Depression Claudette expected to strengthen into a tropical storm as it approaches Sunday night
Tropical Depression Claudette is en route to the Cape Fear region, after leaving a trail of destruction across the southeast.
Thursday afternoon, the National Weather Service's Hurricane Center named the system ‘Potential Tropical Cyclone Three.’ Early Saturday it developed into a named tropical storm, and by the late afternoon, had downgraded to a tropical depression.
The storm spurned tornadoes and flooding across Alabama throughout the day Saturday. Dozens of homes were damaged, and at least 12 people were killed, USA Today reported.
As Claudette moves northeastward to North Carolina's coast between Sunday night and Monday morning, the National Weather Service (NWS) expects the depression to strengthen back into a tropical storm as it approaches.
It's a track that forecasters call unusual, but not unprecedented. According to the Wilmington NWS, Hurricane Danny struck the Gulf Coast as an 80 mph hurricane in 1997. The storm weakened into a weak tropical depression, then strengthened again in its route to eastern North Carolina.
While forecast winds aren't as strong with Claudette, the NWS still expects to see the system intensify inland before reaching the ocean.
As of Sunday afternoon, a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for coastal New Hanover, Pender, and Brunswick counties. A Flash Flood Watch is in effect from southeastern North Carolina to northeastern South Carolina.
Anyone in the area should prepare for tropical-storm-force winds, coastal flooding, and flooding from rain — as well as isolated tornadoes and hazardous marine weather conditions. Beaches along the coast and over coastal waters could see winds up to 40 miles per hour.
And with flooding being a major component of this storm for much of the affected areas so far, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is reminding people to be aware of and cautious around floods. If a roadway looks flooded, the agency says it is best to "turn around, don't drown."
Conditions are expected to improve Monday, as the system moves offshore. Ant additional updates will be issued by the National Weather Service at 6 pm this evening. You can view the full, Sunday morning briefing here.