Claudette is now forecast to trek across South Carolina on Sunday, arriving in North Carolina on Sunday night. Once it nears the coast early Monday, the National Hurricane Center predicts, it will intensity and regain tropical-storm strength.
“Tropical storm conditions are expected along portions of the North Carolina coast late tonight and Monday, where a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect,” the Hurricane Center writes. “Tropical storm conditions are possible in northeastern South Carolina tonight and Monday, where a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect.”
On Sunday morning, Tropical Depression Claudette was centered near Atlanta, moving east-northeast at 13 mph.
Looking ahead, the Hurricane Center projects, “Bands of heavy rain will occur across portions of central and southern Georgia, central and coastal South Carolina into eastern North Carolina through Monday morning resulting in rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 8 inches.”
It adds: “Considerable flash, urban and small stream flooding impacts, as well as new and renewed minor to isolated moderate river flooding are possible across these areas.”
Once Claudette nears the North Carolina coast late Sunday and early Monday, its winds are likely to intensify, and gusts could reach or even exceed 40 to 50 mph. Additionally, water levels in coastal areas are forecast to rise about one to three feet above normally dry land.
“The combination of storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline,” the Hurricane Center writes.
The storm will move across the North Carolina coastal zone quickly and will be out to sea by Monday afternoon, zipping toward Nova Scotia, which it may graze between Tuesday and Wednesday.
As Claudette plowed into the northern Gulf Coast late Friday and early Saturday, it produced five to 10 inches of rain in southeastern Louisiana and coastal Mississippi, with isolated amounts of nearly a foot, leading to areas of flooding.
On Saturday and Saturday night, the system’s heavy rain also caused flooding in parts of central and northern Alabama, including around Tuscaloosa.
Along the coast, Claudette produced a storm surge of two to three feet above normally dry land from southeastern Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle, resulting in areas of inundation.
Straight-line wind gusts reached 60 mph in parts of coastal Mississippi, but the storm’s most destructive element proved to be a tornado it spawned in Brewton, Ala., about 60 miles east-northeast of Mobile, near the Florida Panhandle. That twister destroyed “dozens” of homes and injured three people, according to Weather.com.
The National Weather Service received three reports of tornadoes in southern Alabama and four in southwestern Georgia.