RIP CURRENTS AND EROSION: Dangerous rip currents are likely today and Tuesday as gusty northeast winds create very rough surf. For that reason, it has not been upgraded to a tropical storm. The rain risk will be 60 percent. However, the photo above from the National Hurricane Center predicts rainfall totals from 6 to 10 inches along the coast of North Carolina.
Regardless of tropical formation, this feature will deepen as it lifts northeast through the middle of the week, becoming an extratropical storm with winds approaching hurricane strength.
Monday: Rain and thunderstorms linger in Florida and spread into eastern North Carolina and eastern Virginia.
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An upper-level trough moving east across the Midwestern states will steer Irma to the northeast, so there's no danger of it moving directly into Virginia or stalling out. The more recent one was Hurricane Dennis in 1981 when over a several day period an wonderful 25 inches of rain fell on Homestead, drowning agricultural interests. Up to three to six inches of rain is expected within most of the watch area with localized higher amounts possible. The intensity and duration of the rain will vary, but the wettest weather should be south and east of the Lehigh Valley.
"Regions near Houston will likely see 35 to possibly 50 additional inches of rain, which will lead to more flooding", Bridges said. Tonight will be mostly cloudy locally with lows dipping into the lower 60s.
Wind will sweep into the developing storm on Tuesday, but this far inland it will not be disruptive. Brisk northeast breezes of 5-15 miles per hour and gusts of 25+ miles per hour will continue to enhance the risk of rip currents at area beaches. and, of course, rough conditions are likely offshore.
Charleston County increased its status to OPCON 4 as of 1 p.m., citing the possibility of wind gusts up to 30 to 35 miles per hour, showers with thunderstorms and coastal flooding.
If it does strengthen to a well-defined low pressure, the threat of storm surge along the Carolinas will increase, but the coastal flood threat is minor and comparable to a typical nor'easter.