Henri, expected to become a hurricane, threatens NC swimmers

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A soon-to-be hurricane will cause dangerous swim conditions at North Carolina’s beaches, according to WRAL meteorologists.

Henri, currently 300 miles southwest of Bermuda, could be a Category 1 hurricane as early as Friday morning, according to WRAL meteorologist Zach Maloch.

The storm is not expected to make landfall but will sit about 200 miles off North Carolina’s coast, causing large waves, beach erosion and rough currents on Friday and Saturday. Swimmers, surfers and boaters will need to use extreme caution if they choose to be in the water.

Read up on rip current safety tips

Hurricane Grace formed before 11 a.m. on Wednesday and is the second hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. Grace, currently near the Grand Cayman Islands, is expected to make landfall in the Yucatan Peninsula Thursday morning and then again in central Mexico late Friday.

Hurricane Grace path as of Aug. 19

Grace is not expected to impact the United States.

Tropical Storm Fred slams western NC

A timestamped update showing the impact of Fred, which hit the state on Aug. 17.

11 p.m.: A second line of storms will approach western North Carolina, and will hit areas already struggling with severe flooding at around 3 a.m.

10:30 p.m.: The mayor of Canton, a small town in Haywood County, says that he’s afraid to see the destruction that the sun will reveal on Wednesday morning. The Pigeon River overflowed, leaving businesses and homes.

“We are asking, if you are in areas near the river … please move to higher ground,” Zeb Smathers said. “This is not a drill.”

8:30 p.m.: Residents of Haywood County were ordered to evacuate on Tuesday night as a dangerous flood wave moved down the Pigeon River through Canton, Clyde and into Lake Waterville. People were advised to seek high ground immediately. Roads were completely washed out and there were reports of homes being picked up by the water and carried away.

7:30 p.m.: Reports and video of widespread damage and flooding continue to circulate on social media. Several people reported flooded roads and homes as the center of the storm neared.

By the end of day on Tuesday, areas near Asheville were expected to see 6 inches of rainfall. The area had seen 3 to 5 inches by Tuesday evening.

7 p.m.: A tornado watch is in effect for many counties in western North Carolina until 2 a.m.

6:45 p.m.: The previously closed stretch of I-40 west near Asheville has reopened. Major delays are still in effect in the area near Exit 37 (Wiggins Road).

There have now been 12 reports of tornadoes. Duke Energy reports tens of thousands of power outages in western North Carolina.

6 p.m.: There’s brief break in the rain for most of central North Carolina. There’s just a few spotty showers out there at the moment, but another band of rain could bring storms late tonight and early tomorrow.

Flash flood warnings are prominent around Asheville, where they’ve seen anywhere from three to five inches of rain. The flooding risk continues to be high in the western part of North Carolina.

5:30 p.m.: A flash flood in Balsam Grove caused rapid flooding at the North Fork French Broad River in Pisgah National Forest. The flooding produced dramatic video, captured by meteorologist Reed Timmer.

There have now been nine reported tornadoes in North Carolina.

5 p.m.: A rockslide closed part of westbound Interstate 40 just west of Asheville. Cameras showed major backups on the interstate as drives sat in traffic. Approximately a dozen tornadoes, three of which occurred in North Carolina, were reported throughout the southeast as a result of Fred.

The day after Fred, western NC begins to pick up the pieces

3:50 p.m.: Parts of western North Carolina are now under a Level 3 risk for severe weather. The risk area also includes part of upstate South Carolina as well. Charlotte, Kannapolis and Hickory are cities covered by the threat.

WRAL meteorologist Aimee Wilmoth says tornadoes are possible in these areas, where the risk is considered “enhanced.”

2:20 p.m.: A tornado warning has been issued for Caswell County until 3 p.m.

1:30 p.m.: The remnants of Fred continue to move through western North Carolina, where there have been numerous tornado warnings issued.

Damage reports indicate the rain and wind gusts have brought down trees in the region. Western North Carolina is under an extreme risk for flash flooding and many counties are under a tornado watch until 7 p.m.

For Central North Carolina, the radar is “very, very active,” according to WRAL meteorologist Aimee Wilmoth. There is a good chance of scattered thunderstorms this afternoon. There’s a Level 1 risk for severe weather for Mecklenburg County, Va. all the way south to Moore County. The Triad region and the mountains are under a Level 2 risk.

12:40 p.m.: A rain band has moved northwest of Wilmington and is approaching our area. Rain is falling at 1 to 2 inches per hour in some parts of the southeast. Fred has dumped as much as 4 inches of rain so far in some areas. Flood warnings were issued in Georgia and South Carolina.

In North Carolina, numerous tornado warnings were also issued along the I-77 corridor. Elizabeth Gardner said any possible tornadoes are likely to stay to the west of us in the Triangle.

A flood warning was underway for an area west of Wilmington. One portion of southeastern North Carolina has already seen more than 3 inches of rain.

11:30 a.m.: A tornado was reported in Iredell County. Isolated tornadoes will be likely in Charlotte and the Triad on Tuesday as Fred brings storms and heavy rain to North Carolina.

Tornado warnings were also reported in Georgia while Fred crossed the state, dropping heavy rain. The storm has only been blamed for one death so far, when a car hydroplaned in Panama City, Fla., after the storm made landfall Monday.