Hurricane turns into a nor’easter. Here’s how it will impact the Carolinas

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Hurricane Willa came ashore in Mexico as a Category 3 storm with sustained winds of up to 120 mph Tuesday night, the Associated Press reports.

Towns along the Mexican coast were cut off and officials are still working to figure out the extent of the damage from Willa, according to the Weather Channel. But now the storm’s remnants are headed north and are expected to bring rain, wind and some coastal flooding to the Carolinas Friday.

Willa’s leftovers will become the first nor’easter of the season, ABC11 reports, and strengthen into a new system as it moves up the eastern seaboard.

The storm will drop more rain as it moves north. “Computer models are in agreement on the first nor’easter of the season this weekend. The storm will likely tap moisture from the remnants of Hurricane Willa. Heavy rains, strong gusty winds and minor-moderate coastal flooding is expected along the Eastern Seaboard this weekend,” the National Weather Service said in a tweet.

Here’s how the nor’easter is forecast to impact North and South Carolina this week:

North Carolina coast

Along the North Carolina coast, forecasters expect most areas to see an inch or more of rain during the day Friday and into the night. Winds on the Outer Banks could gusts at more than 40 mph, according to the Weather Service.

The Wilmington area expects up to an inch and a half of rain from the system, the Wilmington Star-News reports. NWS meteorologist Reid Hawkins told the newspaper, “Good news, it will be moving pretty quickly.”

“Isolated strong thunderstorms could produce a tornado during the day Friday,” the Weather Service warned.

Most of the eastern areas in North and South Carolina will see an inch to an inch and a half of rain, with rain starting to the south Thursday night and into Friday as it moves north, the Weather Service forecasts.

The rest of North Carolina

Central and western North Carolina is all forecast to get up to an inch and a half of rain.

Areas north of Raleigh could see more than two inches of rain, ABC11 forecasts. The station reports that in central North Carolina “temperatures will be chilly – highs only in the low 50s on Friday will be 20 degrees below normal.”

“Friday will be wet and chilly across central NC, especially across the Piedmont where forecast highs are only in the 40’s. Greensboro is likely to break its record low maximum temperature of 49 on Friday, and Raleigh may approach its record as well,” the National Weather Service in Raleigh said on Twitter.

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National Weather Service

South Carolina coast

The remnants of Willa will move into South Carolina Friday, according to the National Weather Service in Charleston, bringing “widespread rain and a few thunderstorms” along with a slight chance of tornadoes.

Areas all along the South Carolina coast could see more than an inch of rain between Thursday and Friday, the Weather Service forecasts, with winds up to almost 20 mph along the coast.

“Shallow to moderate coastal flooding will be likely around high tide Friday morning as a coastal storm affects the area with gusty winds during a period of already high astronomical tides,” around the Lowcountry coast, according to the NWS.

Commuters in Charleston could face flooding with the high tide Friday morning, The Charleston Post & Courier reports.

Further north, along the Grand Strand, Weather Service forecasters predict a raining day Friday and wind gusts around Myrtle Beach could get up to 24 mph, the Weather Service forecasts.

Columbia and the S.C. Upcountry

The South Carolina capital and surrounding areas will likely see almost an inch of rain Thursday night through Friday, with maximum winds less than 10 mph, the Weather Service in Columbia predicts.

Further upstate towards Greenville and Spartanburg, South Carolina forecasters predict more than an inch of rain Thursday night and Friday.

Charles Duncan: 843-626-0301, @duncanreporting