5:30PM Eastern Update
Tropical Depression Three (TD3) has officially developed off of the coast of North Carolina. TD3 has maximum sustained winds of 30 mph and moving to the NNW at 5 mph (see Fig. 1). TD3 is expected to strengthen into a weak Tropical Storm by Saturday followed by further intensification into a hurricane by late Sunday or early Monday.
Fig. 1: National Hurricane Center Forecast
While intensification of TD3 is likely due to the warm sea-surface temperatures and a low environmental shear, landfall across the Carolinas does not look likely at this time. TD3 is slowly moving towards the NNW but should begin to meander (or nearly become stationary) over the weekend due to weak steering currents. By early next week, it appears a trough will pick-up the tropical cyclone and shunt it off the NE, thus, landfall is not expected across the Carolinas. Due to the Carolinas being on the west side of the tropical cyclone, no direct impacts are likely. The majority of the rain and wind associated with the system should remain offshore (however, there is an outside chance the outerbanks see scattered showers/storms).
With that said, if you live along the coast from Virginia down to South Carolina, it is wise to keep a close eye on the forecast. The National Hurricane Center does include the outerbanks of North Carolina in the official cone of uncertainty. Any small changes to certain upper-level features may make landfall more possible. Rip currents are a guaranteed hazard with this system along the East Coast so be careful if you’re headed to the beach.
Firsthand Weather will have updates as needed!