Published: 2017-07-31 08:07:00
Updated: 2017-07-31 15:15:17
Posted July 31
Raleigh, N.C. — A tropical storm that drenched central Florida on Monday could bring rip currents along the North Carolina coast by the end of the week, WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.
Tropical Storm Emily made landfall Monday morning near Tampa Bay and swirled over west-central Florida drenching the area with up to 8 inches of rain. The Florida Highway Patrol closed the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay through much of Monday because of maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph) associated with the storm.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for 31 of the state's 67 counties as a precaution. Forecasters also warned of possible isolated tornadoes and offshore waterspouts spinning off of the system, which sent swirling rain bands across parts of south Florida.
After crossing the Florida peninsula, the storm is expected to move offshore of east-central Florida along the Atlantic coast sometime Tuesday morning.
As the storm makes its way up the east coast, it will be something to watch in the Carolinas.
"The storm could end up off the North Carolina coast by mid-week," said WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner. "It may still be a weak tropical storm, but it's not likely to come on shore. Right now it looks like our greatest threat would be rip currents."
Forecasters say Emily was expected to dump between 2 to 4 inches of rain through Monday night between the Tampa bay area and Naples, with isolated amounts up to 8 inches possible in spots. Lesser amounts were predicted elsewhere in the region.