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Currently, forecasts show the storm’s outer bands impacting the Sandhills between 11 p.m. and 12 a.m., then hitting the Triangle between 2 and 4 a.m. Isaias will move into northern North Carolina and Virginia between 4 and 5 a.m.
The strongest winds and heaviest rains will arrive after midnight and be gone by 8 a.m.
A tornado watch is in effect for Sampson county until 2am. More counties will likely be added to this watch later tonight. The threat for a brief spin up tornado is highest along and east of the I-95 corridor. pic.twitter.com/V8jIHmxxeg
— Brittany Bell (@BrittanyABC11) August 3, 2020
As of 5 p.m., the storm was 120 miles south southwest of Myrtle Beach and maximum sustained winds were near 70 mph with higher gusts.
Some strengthening is forecast later Monday afternoon or early evening and Isaias is expected to make landfall Monday night at or near hurricane strength along the coast of northeastern South Carolina or southern North Carolina.
Only gradual weakening is anticipated after Isaias makes landfall in the Carolinas and moves across the U.S. mid-Atlantic region Monday night and Tuesday.
Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for areas as far west as Wake County as well as along and east of the Interstate 95 corridor. Warnings are issued when winds of 39 to 73 mph are expected in the region within the next 36 hours. A Hurricane Warning has been issued for New Hanover and Brunswick counties.
Scattered storms are possible all Monday afternoon, but the first main line from Isaias will enter the Sandhills area around 8-10 p.m. Monday.
Late Monday into early Tuesday, central and eastern North Carolina can expect heavy rain and flash flooding.
Isaias is now moving at 13 miles per hour, meaning the heaviest of the rain should be moving out of the state by 9 a.m. Tuesday.
When it’s all said and done, rain totals could be between 3 and 6 inches. Winds will likely be gusting from 30 to 70 mph. This means there’s a possibility for some power outages and isolated tornadoes–Isaias brings with it a 5% chance of tornadoes.
Power outages are likely. How widespread they are is yet to be determined. However, all of central North Carolina is at a moderate risk for power outages, with the Outer Banks at a high risk.
HOW NORTH CAROLINA IS PREPARING:
In a news conference Monday afternoon, Gov. Roy Cooper urged North Carolinians to take the storm seriously and make plans for their families, including pets.
“If you are told to evacuate, the most important thing is to get out of the danger zone,” Cooper said.
Both Cooper and other officials asked North Carolinians to avoid driving Monday night into Tuesday morning, and to never drive through flooded roads.
Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry offered a number of resources for North Carolinians to check road and flood conditions in their area. “We need each of you to remain vigilant tonight,” Sprayberry said.
WATCH: Mike Sprayberry explains North Carolina’s final preparations for Tropical Storm Isaias
For now, Sprayberry said North Carolina has not had to ask other states for resources, but said they may need to ask neighboring governments for states in future storms.
Officials also encouraged people to evacuate to family or friends’ homes or hotels before opting to stay in a congregate shelter, because space will be limited. Sprayberry said the state has more than 2,000 available hotel rooms as a non-congregate sheltering option.
“North Carolinians have had to dig deep in recent months to tap into our strength and resilience during the pandemic,” Cooper said. “That hasn’t been easy. But with this storm on the way, we have to dig a little deeper. Let’s keep each other safe from the wind and water as well as from the virus.”
Monday afternoon, the Town of Wrightsville Beach issued a voluntary evacuation order for non-residents as the town declared a State of Emergency.
“We encourage all residents and visitors to be proactive and prepare for any potential impacts related to Hurricane Isaias,” town officials wrote in a news release.
President Donald Trump approved a disaster declaration for parts of North Carolina, primarily focused around the coast, and central NC counties including Wake, Durham, Johnston Orange and Cumberland counties.
Governor Roy Cooper on Sunday reminded residents to put together an emergency kit, follow local evacuation orders, stay in a safe place and never drive through flooded roadways.
He noted that flash flooding is expected, especially near the Neuse and Tar rivers.
Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry said the Red Cross needs volunteers who can help with shelter reception, feeding, dormitory management, liaisons at hotels and other vital tasks. Those 18 years old and older can visit redcross.org/volunteertoday to help.
Due to the pandemic, if you do have to evacuate, officials say you should try to stay with family, friends or at a hotel to minimize contact with others. However, Sprayberry said both non-congregate and congregate shelters will be opened for evacuees who have nowhere to go but a shelter.
Gov. Cooper has authorized the activation of up to 150 members of the North Carolina National Guard to be used if needed in hurricane response and water rescue teams are prepared to respond if need be.
WATCH: 2 States of Emergency: NC Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry speaks with Good Morning America on preparing for Tropical Storm Isaias amid COVID-19
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