MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Isaias is now a hurricane.
Doppler radar imagery and surface observations indicate that eye of Hurricane Isaias made landfall in southern North Carolina around 11:10 p.m. near Ocean Isle Beach, with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.
A weather station at Oak Island, North Carolina, recently reported sustained winds of 76 mph and a gust to 87 mph.
The center of Isaias will move across eastern North Carolina for the rest of the night. The center move near or along the coast of the mid-Atlantic states on Tuesday, and continue across the northeastern United States Tuesday night. Maximum sustained winds are near 85 mph with higher gusts.
Only gradual weakening is anticipated after Isaias makes landfall in the Carolinas and moves across the U.S. mid-Atlantic region tonight and Tuesday. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles. A station at Frying Pan Shoals, North Carolina, recently reported sustained winds of 72 mph and a wind gust of 93 mph.
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
TORNADO WATCH IN EFFECT
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT
A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR
A FLASH FLOOD WATCH IS IN EFFECT for the entire area.
A STORM SURGE WARNING is in effect for the beaches of Horry and Georgetown Counties.
Because of its fast movement, Isaias is not expected to bring tremendous amounts of rain that the area has seen from previous storms. Rainfall amounts look to range from 3-6″ of rain across most of the area with some isolated spots of 7-8″ certainly possible. Thankfully, most area rivers are running well below flood stage and would likely be able to handle any locally heavy rainfall.
Much of this rain will likely fall in a very short amount of time and could result in areas of flash flooding. Low lying areas, creeks, streams, ditches and retention ponds may flood during the heaviest rainfall Monday night. Some areas of flooding may persist through early Tuesday morning.
RIP CURRENTS AND STORM SURGE
The combination of a dangerous 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 water could reach the following heights above ground somewhere in the indicated areas if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide:
South Santee River SC to Cape Fear NC 3-5 ft
Edisto Beach SC to South Santee River SC 2-4 ft
Cape Fear NC to the North Carolina/Virginia border 1-3 ft
Wind gusts of 40 to 60 mph are possible across much of the area. A few gusts of 65 to 70 mph may occur on the immediate beaches depending on the final track and strength of Isaias. While the highest winds may remain just off shore, wind gusts to tropical storm force can result in scattered power outages and downed trees along with minor damage to some structures including lost shingles and siding.
If Isaias makes landfall near or just south of the Grand Strand, there would be a risk of a few wind gusts to near hurricane force - 70 to 75 mph - along the coast. If the storm moves on shore closer to the North and South Carolina border, the highest winds would remain just off shore, but wind gusts of 40 to 60 mph would still be possible.
The risk of tornadoes associated with Isaias is highly dependent on the exact track. If the storm passes near the coast or just inland, there would be a risk of fast-moving and brief tornadoes. If Isaias passes far enough offshore, the risk of isolated tornadoes would be much lower. The best chance of tornadoes would be in those storms that move onshore closer to the center of Isaias. Right now, the time frame of the tornado potential runs from around sunset Monday evening through sunrise Tuesday morning.