Rain could linger into weekend

A strong low-pressure system that has been lashing the Carolina coast is expected to bring scattered showers to the Triangle into the weekend.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A strong low-pressure system that has been lashing the Carolina coast is expected to bring scattered showers to the Triangle into the weekend.

The nor'easter's eye made landfall early Friday, eroding beaches along North Carolina's coast. As the storm moved inland, wind advisories across the state were canceled, however.

“We can expect to see spotty showers on and off, some rain heavy at times. The wind for the most part has started to die down,” WRAL Meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.

For the weekend, expect mostly cloudy skies and milder air, but there is still a chance of showers. Highs will be in the mid-70s. Sunday should be partly cloudy and warmer.

In Wake County, early morning commuters encountered bands of squalls that sometimes drove visibility to near zero in pounding rain.

In a wider area, showers and isolated thunderstorms packing winds, sometimes gusting to 40 mph, spiraled around the storm system centered on the border of North Carolina and South Carolina, the National Weather Service said.

Raleigh-Durham International Airport and Pope Air Force Base in Fayetteville reported winds of about 30 mph late Thursday. Speeds Friday morning were back into the teens.

High temperatures Friday will be in the upper 60s to low 70s. Wind gusts in the Triangle could be up to 35 mph, and the area could see between 1 and 1.5 inches of rain, Gardner said.

Rainfall that totaled nearly 4 inches in Wilmington on Thursday was expected to ease as the clouds crawled ashore. Minor flooding was reported along the coast from South Carolina to Virginia.

In Bertie County officials said the weather damaged mobile homes and downed trees.

Utilities reported about 4,300 customers without power in North and South Carolina.

Forecasters said the storm will move up the mid-Atlantic coast over the next day or two, with strong winds in some areas as well as coastal flooding, high surf and rip currents.

The storm forced Nags Head officials to condemn about a dozen coastal homes, and it knocked out power to a few others.

“I was in bed. There wasn't a whole lot else you could do. No lights, so what do you do?” Kill Devil Hills resident Dick Henchey said.

The strong storm also left the driver of a sports utility vehicle stranded.

“I would think they'd have a little better sense than to be out there (on the beach) in this kind of weather. Actually there is no beach,” Nags Head resident T.J. Jones said.

Witnesses say the driver was motoring down the beach when the SUV got swept away in the surf.

“You see this kind of stuff down on the beach near Oregon Inlet all the time during the summer. Folks driving out (and) getting their Jeep stuck. You don't see too many of them like this in a storm," Jones said.

The storm also caused flooding and power outages in portions of Hampton Roads, Va., and prompted restrictions on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.

Prior to the storm making landfall, some surfers braved the waves at Wrightsville Beach.

"I feel that if you have an understanding about the power a wave can bring down on you, then you'll have more respect for it," surfer Brandon Kaiser said.

The Coast Guard urged people to stay out of the ocean at Wrightsville Beach until the storm passes.

The National Hurricane Center is issuing advisories on newly formed Tropical Storm Kyle, which was about 555 miles south-southwest of Bermuda.

Dare County emergency officials said they are keeping a close eye on Kyle for fear the storm could push more water over Highway 12, which just reopened Friday after being closed due to high water.