Tornado watch, tropical storm warnings up for Outer Banks

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The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for the Outer Banks through 3 p.m. as Tropical Storm Elsa moves through eastern North Carolina.

Elsa is expected to bring locally heavy rainfall with a couple isolated tornadoes possible. A tornado WATCH means tornadoes have the potential to form over the next few hours.

Here’s what you need to do right now:

  • Stay tuned to local media for the latest updates
  • Make sure you have multiple ways to receive watches and warnings today
  • Know where to go for shelter if you receive a tornado warning

Heavy rainfall of up to three inches with localized flash flooding, isolated tornadoes, gusty winds up to tropical storm strength, as well as high surf and dangerous rip currents should be expected.

Dare County Emergency Management urges residents and visitors are encouraged to stay abreast of changing weather conditions and to be ready to take action to protect themselves and their property. Protective actions may include avoiding travel during periods of heavy rain and high winds, not driving through flood waters or parking vehicles in areas that could flood. Stay informed of hazardous weather conditions by enabling government alerts and keeping mobile devices turned on to ensure receipt of National Weather Service alerts.

For up-to-date weather information, visit the National Weather Service at Newport/Morehead City at www.weather.gov/mhx. For updated information regarding road conditions on N.C. Highway 12, follow the North Carolina Department of Transportation on Facebook at www.facebook/ncdot, on Twitter @NCDOTNC12 or visit drivenc.gov.

In addition to ensuring mobile devices have government alerts enabled, Dare County Emergency Management encourages residents and visitors to sign up to receive emergency alerts—including severe weather watches and warnings, public safety and emergency-related warnings, and other time-critical notifications—by visiting www.OBXAlerts.com.  Those that sign up can choose delivery methods to include email, phone call and text messages.  For those that only want to receive alerts from Dare County Emergency Management as text messages, you can opt-in by texting DareEmergencyAlerts to 77295.

For more information on preparedness actions you can take to protect yourself and your property during storms this hurricane season, visit www.DareNC.com/Hurricanes.

Elsa became a tropical storm on July 1, the earliest ever for the fifth named tropical cyclone of the year to form in the Atlantic, breaking the record set in 2020 by Eduardo. It has since reached hurricane status twice, most recently Tuesday night as it moved past Tampa Bay.

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.