RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The National Hurricane Center is monitoring an area of potential tropical development off the coast of the Carolinas.
According to initial forecasts, meteorologists predict a 20 percent chance of development over the next seven days.
The low probability of development is typical for such an advanced development zone, as the system is not expected to organize until the end of the week.
However, if trends continue, the likelihood of development is expected to increase, according to WNCN meteorologist Lance Blocker.
What does this mean for central North Carolina?
So far, the two main forecast models are reporting very different results. The latest US GFS forecast model shows a potential tropical storm developing northeast of Florida and then moving inland over South Carolina.
This scenario would generate widespread rain Friday night into Sunday morning across central North Carolina.
However, the European ECMWF forecast model shows a “non-tropical” depression forming just offshore of South Carolina and then moving northeast.
If the European forecast proves correct, it would mean heavy rain along the coast next weekend, but much lower totals inland.
Blocker cautioned that either forecast model has a very low probability of being accurate at this point, and is just something to keep an eye on, but not change plans.
Meanwhile, Nigel strengthened into a hurricane overnight, becoming the 14th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.
Nigel is expected to strengthen rapidly by Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center said.
The NHC said the storm is located about 935 miles east-southeast of Bermuda and is moving northwest at nearly 12 mph. Nigel is expected to turn north Tuesday evening, then accelerate northeast through the rest of the week.
Nigel’s winds increased to 80 mph, with higher gusts. Meteorologists said Nigel was expected to quickly strengthen into a major hurricane on Tuesday. It could start to weaken Wednesday evening.
According to Monday’s forecast, the NHC is asking Nigel to stay at sea.
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