Tropical storm gusts, 2 inches of rain possible locally

Published 11:29 am Sunday, September 10, 2017

By Josh Bergeron

SALISBURY — A changed storm path for Hurricane Irma means weather on today and Tuesday could include wind gusts reaching tropical storm speeds and rainfall amounts between 1 inch and 2 inches.

On Sunday, the National Hurricane Center predicted a path for Irma that would take the eye of the storm up the western coast of the Florida peninsula, over the Florida panhandle and into Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. Earlier forecasts took the storm up the east coast of Florida and Georgia and into the Carolinas.

In a Sunday update, Rowan County Emergency Services Chief Frank Thomason said the updated storm track would lead to a reduction in wind speeds experienced by local areas when compared to prior forecasts.

Thomason said wind gusts early this week could be greater than 39 mph — tropical storm speeds — but sustained winds would be lower. Sustained winds will be between 20 and 30 mph, said local weather service Rowan County Weather.

Thomason said local rainfall totals would be between 1 inch and 2 inches. It’s possible for some areas of the county to receive 2 inches of rainfall or more, Rowan County Weather said.

Thomason said the lessened effects of Hurricane Irma on Rowan County could still lead to utility-related problems such as downed power lines.

The National Weather Service projects Rowan County will see showers after 11 a.m. today with a possibility of thunderstorms after 11 p.m. Tropical storm force gusts could occur this evening, according to the National Weather Service.

Meanwhile, Tuesday’s forecast also projects rain with gusty winds around 20 mph.

On Saturday evening, Hurricane Irma began battering southern Florida. It moved ashore Sunday morning in the Florida Keys. The eye of the storm isn’t projected to leave Florida until this evening evening, leaving life-threatening flooding, widespread damage and heavy rainfall totals in its wake.

Contact associate editor Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.