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First Alert: Elsa brings heavy rain, gusty winds to our area

Published: Jul. 5, 2021 at 8:00 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 6, 2021 at 8:06 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Elsa is bringing rainfall to the Carolinas.

Stay updated on Elsa and how your area will be impacted with WBTV’s First Alert Weather App

9:30 A.M. THURSDAY

More than 900 people are without power in south Charlotte after branches fell across power lines along Quail Hollow Road near Cameron Forest Lane.

Crews estimate power to be restored by 12:15 p.m.

Click here to see Duke Energy’s Outage Map.

8 A.M. THURSDAY

The latest update takes Elsa right through Chesterfield and Richmond County this morning. The heavy rain will last a few more hours and winds could gust between 25 and 30mph.

5:30 A.M. THURSDAY

Elsa will bring rain for the first part of Thursday. Highs will be limited to the low 80s.

  • Heaviest rain will be this morning
  • Conditions improve through the day
  • Back to our summer-time pattern tomorrow

We have anticipated Elsa’s visit for more than a week now. The storm is now here and is bringing rain to the Carolinas. While the track has been shifting farther west with each model run over the past few days, it is now trending a tad more to the east.

That does change things up a bit. The heaviest rain will fall across our eastern counties. Union, Anson, Richmond, Stanly and Chesterfield will likely end up with the highest rainfall totals. That is where 1-2″ will be possible. You will also have the gustiest winds. Farther west, there will be a sharp drop-off. Charlotte could pick up an inch or so and the mountains and foothills are looking at less than half an inch this time.

One thing we have going for us is that Elsa is moving very quickly to the northeast. The first part of the day will bring the best rain chance. Showers will be lighter and more scattered by midday and there will only be a few stray showers this afternoon. Highs will be in the low to mid 80s.

Friday and the weekend will be more typical of summer for us. Highs will be in the low 90s with a good chance for afternoon thunderstorms. It will be muggy too.

11:30 P.M. WEDNESDAY

Tropical Storm Elsa is heading toward the Carolinas overnight and will move through the region during the morning hours on Thursday.

At 8 p.m., Elsa is over southern Georgia and moving north-northeast toward the Carolinas at 14 mph with wind gusts up to 45 mph.

This is what we are tracking tonight:

  • Elsa steaming toward the Carolinas
  • Rain and Wind heading this way
  • Flooding concerns are on the rise

Heavy rain and some stronger wind gusts will accompany the passage of Elsa, especially in areas along and east of I-77.

A Flash Flood Watch is in effect for Stanly, Anson and Richmond counties through Thursday for expected rain amounts in the 2″ – 4″ range.

People in flood-prone areas should stay alert.

Wind gusts upwards of 40 mph may occur in our extreme eastern sections around eastern Chesterfield and Richmond counties during the morning.

I don’t expect much wind damage however from this storm.

Looking beyond, hot and humid conditions will persist through Friday and the weekend in the wake of Elsa.

If you are deciding on outdoor plans this weekend, Saturday looks like your better bet at this point!

11:30 A.M. WEDNESDAY

As of the 11am update, Elsa made landfall along the north Florida Gulf coast. Sustained winds are 65mph and it is moving north at 14mph.

The forecast track for Elsa has crept a little closer to the Charlotte area on Thursday morning. However, our concern is still the same. Heavy rain looks to be the biggest issue for the first half of Thursday.

Expect rain any time from early morning to midday. It could be heavy at times and there could be localized flooding. 1-2″ of rain seems reasonable, with some spots getting up to 3″.

As of now, high winds don’t seem like they will be a huge issue but there could be some occasional gusts. The severe threat is also to our east. However, every time the track trends more to the west, we get closer to where severe weather is a possibility (The best chance for severe weather is to the east of a landfalling tropical system).

We will continue to monitor that as we go out in time.

8:30 A.M. WEDNESDAY

Elsa is back to tropical storm status and should stay there until making landfall. That will happen this morning in the northern part of the Florida peninsula.

Winds are currently sustained at 65mph. It is moving north at 14mph. Elsa made it to category 1 hurricane status for a few hours last night before being downgraded again this morning. Even without a landfall, the storm has been lashing Florida with heavy rain all night.

After moving over land this morning, it will head for Georgia. We could get a few outer rain bands today. Showers or a thunderstorm will be possible across the Carolinas. However, the heaviest rain here will fall during the first half of Thursday.

Get ready for a wet morning commute tomorrow.

Rain will be possible from sun-up through midday. There could be pockets of heavy rain. 1-3″ will be possible. Winds could be gusty at times, but we should be able to avoid tropical storm force winds. The severe threat will also be off to our east.

8 P.M. TUESDAY

Elsa had winds of 75 mph, strengthening into a hurricane as it hurtled toward Florida’s northern Gulf Coast Tuesday evening. By Wednesday morning, Elsa weakened back to a tropical storm.

The National Weather Service said the storm is expected to make landfall between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Wednesday, somewhere between the Tampa Bay area and the Big Bend region.

Elsa is expected to track into Southern Georgia for Wednesday afternoon, with rain bands expected to move into the Carolinas. Elsa looks to move across the Eastern half of South Carolina and into Eastern North Carolina Wednesday night through the day Thursday.

At this point, the biggest impacts with heavy rain and possible gusty winds look to be along the I-85 corridor and eastward. Rainfall looks to vary from around 0.25″ toward the NC mountains, with 1″ to 3″+ across the Charlotte Metro area, and the eastern WBTV viewing area and NC Sandhills region.

Make sure you stay weather aware this week on any changes with Tropical Storm Elsa, and keep up with the latest track with the free WBTV weather app.

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