Chances higher for East Coast storm to strengthen
Posted May 6, 2015
Updated May 7, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — Chances are higher that a disturbance off the East Coast will develop into a tropical depression or tropical storm in the next 48 hours, according to the National Hurricane Center.
In an update released at 1:45 p.m. Thursday, forecasters boosted the chances from 70 to 80 percent that the storm activity could become more organized and turn into a subtropical cyclone. The storm was producing winds of 40 to 45 mph.
If the system becomes the first named storm of the 2015 season, it will be called Ana. Hurricane season in the Atlantic begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30.
WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said the subtropical distinction is more about the storm's structure than its impact.
"The difference in terms of what we would see from this system wouldn't be noticeable if it's subtropical versus tropical," she said. "That distinction has more to do with the structure of the storm."
As the storm does continue to develop, it's expected to "wander" off the coast of South Carolina through at least Saturday before picking up speed on Sunday and Monday, Gardner said.
Eventually, it could move across eastern North Carolina before it heads back out to sea.
"Because this system is just sitting and churning right now, the North Carolina and South Carolina beaches will have strong rip currents, gusty winds and rain for the next three or four days," Gardner said.
Locally, the storm will bring more clouds than rain to the Triangle, at least on Thursday and Friday.
The weekend will be cloudy and possibly rainy, but it won't be a washout as temperatures remain in the low-to mid-80s. Mother's Day should be variably cloudy with highs in the low 80s.
"Locally, we're going to see increased rain chances and possibly some gusty winds, but we're not going to see what we normally would from a tropical system in terms of heavy rain or flooding," Gardner said.
Unsettled weather will linger across the central part of the state through at least Tuesday, however.