Tropical Depression Claudette Prompts Warning for North Carolina

Even though the center of circulation was well inland over the southeastern U.S. on Sunday morning, Tropical Depression Claudette prompted the issuance of a Tropical Storm Warning for the coast of North Carolina. At 8:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Tropical Depression Claudette was located at latitude 33.7°N and longitude 84.8°W which put it about 25 miles (40 km) west of Atlanta, Georgia. Claudette was moving toward the east-northeast at 13 m.p.h. (20 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 30 m.p.h. (50 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 1007 mb.

A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the coast of North Carolina from Little River Inlet to Duck including Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds. A Tropical Storm Watch was issued for the portion of the coast from South Santee River, South Carolina to Little River Inlet, North Carolina.

Although the center of Tropical Depression Claudette had been over land for a day, the circulation was still well organized. A well defined center of lower pressure was evident at the surface. Bands of showers and thunderstorms were visible on satellite and radar images. The strongest winds were occurring in the bands that were over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. The winds were weaker over land. Rain was falling over the region from northern Florida to North Carolina. The heaviest rain was falling in a band over northern Florida and a Tornado Watch was in effect for part of that region.

Tropical Depression Claudette will move into an environment more favorable for intensification on Sunday. The center of Claudette will still be over land, but it will move east of the Appalachian Mountains. It will move between an upper level trough over the North Central U.S. and an upper level ridge southeast of the U.S. The trough and the ridge will produce southwesterly winds which will blow toward the top of the tropical depression. Those winds will cause some vertical wind shear, but they will also generate upper level divergence to the northeast of Tropical Depression Claudette. The upper level divergence could allow the surface pressure to decrease while Claudette is still over land. A decrease in pressure could generate enough additional force to increase the wind speeds along the coast of North Carolina and South Carolina, when the center Tropical Depression Claudette gets closer to the coast.

Tropical Depression Claudette will move north of a surface high pressure system centered southeast of the U.S. on Sunday. The high will steer Claudette toward the east-northeast during the next 24 hours. On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Depression Claudette will move across Georgia and South Carolina on Sunday. Claudette will continue to drop heavy rain over parts of the southeastern U.S. Flash Flood Watches were in effect for northern Florida, northern Georgia, South Carolina, and eastern North Carolina. There could also be enough wind shear to generate tornadoes in bands on the eastern side of Tropical Depression Claudette.