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Wilson County could receive 3 to 5 inches of rain Thursday with wind gusts in the 30 to 40 mph range as Michael makes its way across the state. The potential is for winds up to 57 mph, she added.
Kathleen Carroll, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Raleigh, said this morning that the bulk of the rain will come on Thursday during the day and into the evening, associated with Hurricane Michael. The highest rain totals will probably be between 2 p.m. Thursday and 2 a.m. Friday. Rain will be off and on most of the day Thursday and could be heavy at times.
Wilson and surrounding counties are currently under both a flash flood watch and a tropical storm watch in advance of the storm.
There will also be an increased tornado risk, Carroll said, because Wilson County is on the east side of the forecast track, where tornadoes are mostly likely to occur. A tornado caused a strip of severe damage when it touched down in Elm City with Hurricane Florence.
Although the predicted rain totals are not as high as we saw here with Florence, Carroll said there is still a flood risk because the ground is still saturated from that storm. This rainfall will not be absorbed much at all, she said, and will run into rivers and streams.
The recent heavy rainfall also means the root system of trees might be loosened, she said, and the winds don’t have to be as strong to bring them down.
Today’s rainfall is not directly associated with Michael, she added, but could be up to 1 inch.
In a Facebook post this morning, the city of Wilson warned Wilson Energy customers that high winds Thursday and into Friday could cause power outages.
Sign up for text alerts to notify you of outages and power restoration at https://www.wilsonnc.org/outage/. To sign up, you will need the location number from your utility bill.
Hurricane Michael is a Category 4 storm as it heads toward the Florida coast this morning. Winds top 145 mph. The Associated Press says its the most powerful hurricane to hit this part of the Florida coast in recorded history.