North Carolina

Nestor strengthens to a tropical storm officially — and it’s staring at North Carolina

A “disturbance” brewing in the Gulf of Mexico was upgraded to a tropical storm on Friday, forecasters say.

With winds near 60 mph and continuing to strengthen, Nestor is expected to make landfall as a tropical storm over the Florida Panhandle before moving across the Southeast, according to the latest updates.

The National Hurricane Center said most of North Carolina could see an inch or more of rain over the weekend, with some eastern parts of the state expected to get closer to 3 inches. Isolated areas along the coast could see as much as 5 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

As of Friday morning, the storm had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, according to the NHC.

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Forecasters say rain is in store for all of North Carolina as a tropical storm is forecast to move over the state this weekend. National Weather Service

Forecasters warned of dangerous storm surge along Florida’s western panhandle. The storm is moving northeast at 22 mph and is expected to start soaking the South over the weekend as it crosses Georgia and South Carolina and then Eastern North Carolina on its way out to sea.

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Forecasters issued warnings for the Gulf coast as the potential tropical storm moves to the northeast. National Hurricane Center

Forecasters with the National Weather Service in Raleigh say central North Carolina could see gusty winds and 1 to 2 inches of rain starting Saturday evening, “with the heaviest rain and strongest winds more likely in the areas from the Triangle to the south and east.”

Along the North Carolina coast, forecasters say, the most impacts will be Saturday night into Sunday, with 2 to 4 inches of rain and heavy winds expected, according to the National Weather Service in Morehead City.

The Outer Banks could see dangerous seas with 10- to 12-foot swells, the National Weather Service said.

There is a possibility for tornadoes in Eastern North Carolina, forecasters said.

In the western half of the state, Charlotte could see more than an inch and a half of rain, and Asheville is forecast to see almost an inch, according to the National Weather Service.

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Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.