TRACKING IDALIA: How will it affect the Carolinas?

CHARLOTTE — We’re already seeing local impacts after Idalia became a Category 2 hurricane Tuesday afternoon. It was strengthening Tuesday night and nearly a Category 3 hurricane by 11 p.m.

It is expected to become a Cat 4 storm by the time it makes landfall in the Big Bend region of Florida, the National Weather Service said.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster each declared a State of Emergency ahead of the storm.

The National Hurricane Center warned of an increasing risk of life-threatening storm surge and dangerous hurricane-force winds in Florida in the next two days.


Here in the Charlotte area, the region is expected to get 1 to 3 inches of rainfall over the next 48 hours. Near the coast of the Carolinas, closer to 6 inches of rain is expected in some areas.

VIDEO: Tuesday night’s forecast update

According to Chief Meteorologist Steve Udelson, we will be on the northern fringe of the storm overnight Wednesday. The effects will grow stronger as you head into the South Carolina midlands along Highway 9.

A Flood Watch went into effect Tuesday afternoon in southern and eastern Charlotte until Thursday. Udelson expects we’ll see 2 or more inches of rain before the storm pulls away. There will be a sharp cutoff where little rain will fall northwest of Interstate 85.

The storm should move completely out of our area by mid-morning Thursday, Baggett said, as the outer bands will have left the Charlotte region.

On Monday, Gov. Cooper declared a State of Emergency to get the state’s emergency operations plan going, help with the transportation of fuel and other essential supplies and services, help first responders, help protect people from price gouging, and help the agriculture industry to prepare for the storm.

“We are continuing to monitor Idalia’s course and its potential impacts on our state and it’s critical to make sure we are fully prepared,” Cooper said in a statement. “It is important for North Carolinians to gather emergency kits and prepare for the storm before it’s too late. We also want to make sure our farmers are able to protect their crops.”

By Monday afternoon, Gov. McMaster had followed suit.

“Although South Carolina may avoid the worst of Hurricane Idalia’s impacts, this State of Emergency is issued out of an abundance of caution to ensure that we have the necessary resources in place to respond to flooding events and are able to respond quickly if the forecast worsens,” McMaster said in a statement. “Now is the time for South Carolinians to begin making proper preparations, and everyone should begin actively monitoring official sources for the most up-to-date information – especially those along our coast and in low-lying areas.”

The Charlotte chapter of the American Red Cross is already on the way to Florida to help out with recovery efforts. You can read more about their efforts here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

VIDEO: Myrtle Beach preps for storm