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Weakened Irma Will Bring Stormy Weather To Triangle

An American flag is torn as Hurricane Irma passes through Naples, Fla., Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
David Goldman
An American flag is torn as Hurricane Irma passes through Naples, Fla., Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.

Updated 12:07 p.m., September 11, 2017

Weakening Tropical Storm Irma will bump into a high pressure system in North Carolina later Monday, bringing some stormy weather to the Triangle. But National Weather Service Meteorologist Gail Hartfield says heavy flooding is not likely."Mainly some urban flooding, you may get some ponding of water on the streets, things like that," Hartfield said. "Poor drainage areas, like construction areas, you may get some water piling up there. Nothing that's going to be life threatening that we can see right now. You may see some rising on area creeks, but right now we're only expecting 1 to 2 inches out of this."

Hartfield said the Triangle can expect some strong wind, with gusts up to 40 miles per hour. She said downed branches could cause some power outages.

"It does look like we're going have frequent enough gusts that it could knock down some weakly rooted trees, and perhaps some tree branches may get knocked down as well," she said. "Could see a few power outages."

A high pressure system brought cool weather over the weekend, but temperatures could return to the high 80s later this week, according to Hartfield.

State officials have also mobilized in preparation for Tropical Storm Irma. Governor Roy Cooper said during a press conference Monday that the storm could bring heavy rain, winds and tornadoes, especially in the western part of the state.

"Wildfires in our mountains last year have left some places more vulnerable to landslides and the wet weather could cause rockslides through steep areas, such as I-40 near the Tennessee border, or I-26," Cooper said. "So please be cautious if you plan to drive through these areas."

Cooper said five Red Cross shelters are hosting people from Florida and other states who are fleeing the storm. He said they'll remain open until they're no longer needed.

The National Guard has also been deployed throughout North Carolina to prepare for the storm.

"Most of the people who stop by are using the shelters to rest and recharge and refuel for the next leg of their journey, including getting some much needed sleep," Cooper said.

Updates and shelter information can be found by downloading the app at, or dialing 2-1-1.

Irma Barrels Through Caribbean Leaving Widespread Destruction

Before crashing into Florida, Hurricane Irma set all sorts of records for brute strength as it flattened Caribbean islands and swamped the Florida Keys. Irma's assault — so soon after Harvey's deluge of Houston — marked the first time the U.S. was hit by two Category 4 storms in the same year.

The most potent Atlantic Ocean hurricane ever, Irma weakened only slightly Thursday morning and remained a powerful Category 5 storm with winds of 180 mph (285 kph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Irma hit the Sunshine State as a big wide beast, though not quite the monster it once was shaping up to be. Earlier, it was the most powerful recorded storm in the open Atlantic. But as the once-Category 5 storm neared the U.S. mainland, it lost some oomph after running into the northern coast of Cuba.

Winds dropped to a quite potent 115 mph (185 kph) by the time Irma made landfall on Marco Island, on the Florida peninsula, still a major and dangerous hurricane yet not near its 185 mph (297 kph) former self when it set a record Tuesday for the most powerful storm in the open Atlantic. And on top of that, Irma avoided what could have been its most destructive paths along the Florida peninsula — over Miami and the heavily developed Atlantic seaboard. Still, at about 400 miles (640 kilometers) wide, it raked much of the state with devastating storm surge, destructive winds and drenching rains before weakening.

"There's a huge difference between a (Category) 3 and 5 when it makes landfall," said private meteorologist Ryan Maue of WeatherBell Analytics. "Barbuda is an example of that. It was wiped."

North Carolina Coastal Communities Prepared Ahead Of Potential Storm

In North Carolina, crews working on beach nourishment projects last week reviewed contingency plans in case Hurricane Irma headed for the coast. 

Equipment was moved off of Outer Banks beaches, according to Dare County Spokeswoman Dorothy Hester.

"My understanding for the northern beach project - the sand that's being pumped in Kitty Hawk - is that they are going to remove the dredge and prepare for rough seas," Hester said.

There's less than a mile left on Kitty Hawk's beach nourishment project, which is scheduled to be finished next month. That could change depending on Irma's impact.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
Will Michaels is WUNC's General Assignment Reporter and fill-in host for "Morning Edition"
Elizabeth “Liz” Baier is WUNC’s Digital News Editor. She joined the station in May 2016.
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