Tropical Depression Claudette could re-strengthen before leaving North Carolina coast, NHC forecasts

Claudette hits Gulf Coast with heavy rain, flooding

Tropical Storm Claudette makes landfall along the Gulf Coast, bringing heavy rain and flooding to the area

The National Hurricane Center is forecasting that Tropical Depression Claudette could re-strengthen Sunday evening before exiting North Carolina’s coast on Monday.

According to an update from the agency around 5 p.m., Claudette is expected to produce heavy rainfall between 2 to 4 inches with isolated maximum totals of 6 inches across North Florida, southeastern Georgia, central and coastal South Carolina and into central to eastern North Carolina through Monday morning. 

Flash, urban and small stream flooding, as well as isolated minor river flooding are also possible across these areas. The tropical storm has produced total rainfall of 5 to 10 inches with isolated 15 inch amounts observed in southeast Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama, and the western Florida panhandle.

The NHC says the combination of storm surge and the tide will also cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. Water levels are expected to reach as high as one to three feet between the North Carolina-Virginia border and Cape Lookout, North Carolina and one to two feet from Cape Lookout to Little River Inlet, South Carolina if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide.  

In addition, tropical winds are expected along portions of North Carolina’s coast and are possible in northeastern South Carolina late Sunday evening and Monday morning, where tropical storm watches are in effect. Isolated tornadoes are also possible Sunday evening across parts of the central and eastern Carolinas.

Claudette is currently moving through South Carolina toward the east-northeast at about 17 miles per hour and the tropical storm’s maximum sustained winds currently remain near 30 miles per hour with higher gusts.   

Courtesy of National Hurricane Center

“An east-northeastward to northeastward motion with some increase in forward speed is expected over the next couple of days,” the agency noted. “On the forecast track, the system should continue to move across portions of the southeastern U.S. through tonight, move over the coast of North Carolina into the western Atlantic Ocean on Monday, and pass near or just south of Nova Scotia on Tuesday.”

Claudette’s torrential rains and high winds have led to at least 10 deaths, including nine children, in a 15-vehicle pileup on an Alabama interstate.  Claudette also spawned a suspected tornado that slammed through at least 50 homes in Alabama just north of the Florida border, flattening a mobile home park, tossing trees through homes and even blowing the roof off of a high school gym.

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    This photo provided by Alicia Jossey shows debris covering the street in East Brewton, Ala., on Saturday, June 19, 2021.  Authorities in Alabama say a suspected tornado spurred by Tropical Storm Claudette demolished or badly damaged at least 50 homes in the small town just north of the Florida border. (Alicia Jossey via AP) (Alicia Jossey via AP)

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    Danny Gonzales, right, stands in front of his flooded house with his neighbor Bob Neal, upset with power company trucks driving though the flooded neighborhood pushing water back into his home, after Tropical Storm Claudette passed through, in Slidell, La., Saturday, June 19, 2021.     (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

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    Motorists navigate a flooded Gause Boulevard in Slidell, La., late Friday, June 18, 2021, as a tropical disturbance neared the Louisiana shore. Tropical Storm Claudette has formed Saturday morning along the U.S. Gulf Coast, bringing heavy rains and flooding to coastal states including Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.  (Scott Threlkeld/The Advocate via AP) (AP)

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    Danny Gonzales, walks in his flooded house as water recedes, after Tropical Storm Claudette passed through, in Slidell, La., Saturday, June 19, 2021.  The National Hurricane Center declared Claudette organized enough to qualify as a named storm early Saturday, well after the storm’s center of circulation had come ashore southwest of New Orleans.(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) (AP)

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    A flooded neighborhood is seen after Tropical Storm Claudette passed through in Slidell, La., Saturday, June 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

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    Danny Gonzales, right, stands in front of his flooded house with his neighbor Bob Neal, upset with power company trucks driving though the flooded neighborhood pushing water back into his home, after Tropical Storm Claudette passed through, in Slidell, La., Saturday, June 19, 2021.  (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

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    Heavy rain falls in Downtown Pensacola during Tropical Storm Claudette Saturday, June 19 2021.Posible Tornado On Davis South Of Copter 5 (Reuters)

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    Danny Gonzales, walks in his flooded house as water recedes, after Tropical Storm Claudette passed through, in Slidell, La., Saturday, June 19, 2021.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

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    A car stops in front of neighborhood flooding after Tropical Storm Claudette passed through, in Slidell, La., Saturday, June 19, 2021.    (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

The NHC warned additional strengthening over the western Atlantic Ocean through early Tuesday is possible, with Claudette expected to become a post-tropical cyclone sometime between Tuesday afternoon or evening.

Fox News’ Peter Aiken contributed to this report

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