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Tropical Storm Isaias brings flooding rain and strong winds to Triangle, eastern North Carolina

Richard Stradling and Josh Shaffer, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) on

Published in Weather News

RALEIGH, N.C. -- As dawn broke Tuesday, the last of Tropical Storm Isaias churned north out of eastern North Carolina, leaving behind the effects of strong winds, heavy rain and tornadoes from the Triangle to the coast.

Nearly 370,000 homes and businesses remained without power at 8 a.m., as the storm's exit allowed power crews to get started on repairs.

Gov. Roy Cooper told "Good Morning America" that Isaias had spawned "a number of tornadoes," including one that hit a mobile home park in Bertie County, killing one person and injuring several others. Bertie County officials said the tornado touched down in the Morning Road area of Windsor.

The Wilmington area had about 100,000 homes and businesses without power just before dawn Tuesday, according to Duke Energy. At 6 a.m., Duke Energy reported about 7,700 customers without power in Wake County and nearly 8,000 in Johnston County; by 9 a.m., electricity had been restored to more than half of those customers.

Isaias made landfall shortly after 11 p.m. at Ocean Isle Beach and moved through North Carolina under the cover of darkness. The center of the storm roughly followed the Interstate 95 corridor through the state, dumping large amounts of rain north and west of the center.

At 5 a.m., the center of the storm was 15 miles southeast of Roanoke Rapids and still had sustained winds of 70 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. The rain had stopped by about 7 a.m., though much of eastern North Carolina remained under a tropical storm warning for another hour because of the lingering winds.

 

Isaias picked up speed overnight and was moving into Virginia at 28 mph. The storm's quickening pace helped reduce the amount of rain it dropped on the state. Forecasters had expected 4 to 6 inches to fall along the I-95 corridor, but the total at Rocky Mount-Wilson Regional Airport was 2.4 inches since Monday afternoon.

By 6:15 a.m., rain had moved north out of the Triangle, but a flash flood warning remains in effect for Wake until 3:15 p.m. About 2.6 inches fell at Raleigh-Durham International Airport since Monday evening, but the total approached 4 inches elsewhere in the county, according to the National Weather Service.

Forecasters say they expect the Neuse River to reach moderate flood levels at Clayton and Smithfield by Wednesday afternoon. At its peak, the Neuse is expected to rise into Smithfield Town Commons Park and block U.S. 70 just west of the bridge.

The storm left several roads impassable around eastern North Carolina, particularly in the Wilmington area, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation. They included U.S. 421 near Wilmington and N.C. 11 west of Ahoskie. For the latest road conditions, go to drivenc.gov.

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