Jul 01, 2023

Idalia updates for Fayetteville: Overnight forecast

Cumberland County residents are still expected to see the impacts of Idalia by late Wednesday evening into early Thursday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Idalia, which is now a tropical storm, hit coastal Georgia at about 5 p.m. and is moving at a rate of about 20 mph, according to the NWS.

Light rain in Fayetteville is expected to “pick up in intensity overnight” and continue until about 7 to 8 a.m. before tapering off mid-Thursday morning, said Mike Strickler, a Raleigh-based NWS meteorologist.

While flash flood watches were removed for the Raleigh and Triangle area, Cumberland County is still expected to see between 3-6 inches of rain, said Mike Strickler, a Raleigh-based NWS meteorologist.

“That could mean the southern part of Cumberland County and Fayetteville could result in flooding tonight and into early tomorrow morning,” Stickler said.

Winds could reach 30-40 mph, with isolated gusts at about 40 mph occurring around daybreak, he said.

Tornado threats are a low risk for Cumberland County, though the southern part is considered a “level 1” risk, and the southeastern part of the state toward Wilmington, New Hanover and Brunswick counties are at a “level 3” risk, which means severe thunderstorms and tornado possibility, Strickler said.

Some city services will operate on an adjusted schedule, according to a news release.

Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks and Recreation centers will close at 7 p.m. Wednesday and reopen at 1 p.m. Thursday.

The Fayetteville Area System of Transit bus operations will begin at 8 a.m. Thursday.

The Solid Waste Department will only collect household and bulk waste Thursday. Yard waste and recycling will not be collected on Thursday. Yard waste and recycling scheduled for collection Thursday will now be collected Friday.

Weather-related information will be shared on the city’sFacebook and Twitter accounts during severe weather events.

Residents are encouraged to download the ReadyNC app and FEMA app, which have preparedness tips to create a 72-hour emergency kit, along with power outage information and the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Road Status Database.

Fayetteville Public Works customers should call 910-483-1382 to report outages or downed power lines.

As of 5 p.m., the hurricane had been downgraded to a tropical storm, according to the National Weather Service. It was over coastal Georgia and moving north/northeast at 20 mph.

"Rainfall amounts west and north of the I-95 corridor have been reduced significantly(nearly cut in half) with a sharp NW to SE gradient expected across central and eastern NC; ranging from 0.50-1.0 inches across central/southern Piedmont portions; 1-2 inches across the eastern Piedmont and northern/central coastal plain counties," according to the NWS's 5 p.m. Area Forecast Discussion. "However, we still expect a heavy axis of 3-6 inches (with some localized higher amounts) across the eastern Sandhills and southern coastal plain counties.

"The heaviest rain and greatest flash flooding threat is expected this evening and tonight between 00 to 10z. Will leave Flood Watch in place across interior sections of NC due to the already antecedent wet soils from the heavy rainfall we`ve received in recent days."

With North Carolina under a state of emergency for Hurricane Idalia, Gov Roy Cooper on Wednesday encouraged residents to have emergency kits ready.

“When it hits us, this storm will likely be near tropical storm strength … We’re hoping for the best, and preparing for the worst,” Cooper said during a news conference.

Heavy rainfall and flooding are the greatest threats as Idalia approaches the southeastern corner of the state, Cooper said.

Flash flooding is anticipated across the Piedmont and coastal plains, with heavier rainfall of 5-8 inches expected later Wednesday evening into early Thursday east of Interstate 95, the governor said.

Cooper and officials said the National Guard is activated, and swift water rescue teams are prepared to deploy to the eastern and central part of the states should the need arise.

Seven swift water rescue teams, which equates to 16 boat crews, are on standby along with 130 National Guard personnel and 60 vehicles capable of moving through high waters, said William Ray, North Carolina director of emergency management.

“Our concerns from this event are widespread heavy rains with localized flash flooding. and moderate ravine and coastal flooding along with increased tornado and severe weather threat,” Ray said.

Residents are asked to prepare for possible power outages and flash flooding and to avoid driving on flooded roads, he said.

Cooper said winds, rain and flooding are expected “to continue to impact” North Carolina “into Saturday.”

“This is the first storm of the season, and it may not be the last,” the governor said.

Fort Liberty will operate on a reduced-manning status Thursday because of Hurricane Idalia’s expected impact to the area, a news release stated.

Only mission-essential and weather emergency personnel should report at 10 a.m.

All service members need to contact their chain of command for specific guidance, while all adverse-weather civilian personnel should report to duty as directed by their supervisor or chain of command, the release said.

A 9 p.m. Wednesday, Fort Liberty’s access control points at Rock Merritt Avenue, Canopy Lane, Manchester Road, Butner Road and Knox Street will close. The following gates will remain open: All American, R. Miller, Long Street, Chicken Road, Simmons, Honeycutt and Yadkin Road. Normal operations will resume Friday.

The after-school programs and activities for Fort Liberty Schools are canceled for Wednesday evening, and schools are closed Thursday. Parents should check the individual school’s Facebook page for further information.

Fort Liberty's Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities will be closed, including 24-hour access to fitness facilities.

All Child Development Centers and Central Services, Youth Services facilities are closed, except for the Baez School Age Center and Bauguess Child Development Center, which are open for mission-essential employees.

Exchange and Express stores will remain closed, while the Old Glory Express on Gruber Road will open at 8 a.m. Thursday and all gas stations can be used at any time.

Commissaries will open at noon Thursday.

Damage to barracks or facilities on the installation can be reported by calling 910-396-0321.

Power outages in on-post housing neighborhoods or maintenance emergencies can be reported by calling the Corvias Work Order Hotline at 1-866-206-1365 for the main post housing office, or 1-866-908-2623 for Linden Oaks.

Hope Mills declared a state of emergency Wednesday afternoon.

In the emergency ordinance signed by Mayor Jackie Warner, Warner gives the police chief and his subordinates the authority to restrict or deny access to any area, location or street that may be closed down due to the storm.

“These restrictions on access shall be indicated by means of barricades, posted notices, or orders to anyone in the area,” the emergency order states.

Anyone violating the restriction could be charged with a misdemeanor, the order states.

Hope Mills will also close its town offices Thursday and Friday “due to the potential for flash flooding events and heavy winds,” a town news release stated.

Cumberland County Emergency Services will open two emergency shelters for residents in anticipation of Hurricane Idalia bringing strong winds, heavy rain and flooding to the area, a news release stated.

The Smith Recreation Center, at 1520 Slater Ave., and Kiwanis Recreation Center, at 352 Devers St., will open as emergency shelters starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Residents are encouraged to monitor Cumberland County Alerts and the county's website and social media pages for updates.

Cumberland Alerts is a free alert system that allows residents to receive critical information related to incidents such as severe weather, evacuations, protective actions and more. Notifications can be sent to your home, mobile or business phone, email and by text messages. To sign up for Cumberland Alerts, go to the County’s website at and click on the Cumberland Alerts icon at the bottom of the page.

Cumberland County Schools will operate on a remote learning Thursday because of the "anticipation of inclement weather conditions," the district's website states.

“District officials are closely monitoring weather conditions and collaborating with the National Weather Service and the Cumberland County Emergency Operations Center,” district spokesman Lindsay Whitley said.

District offices and school buildings will be closed on Thursday, and employees will work remotely. Essential personnel and employees with questions should contact their direct supervisor for additional guidance, the notice stated.

Students will work independently on assignments that are uploaded to the Canvas learning management platform or provided by teachers before departing school Wednesday.

According to the notice, elementary and middle school students will have five days to complete and submit their assignments, and high school students will have three days.

Students enrolled in classes at Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville Technical Community College and College Connections should contact their instructors for additional guidance.

The district’s Prime Time before- and after-school program will be closed on Thursday, and athletic events and after-school activities scheduled for Wednesday evening and Thursday have been canceled or rescheduled.

Any updates will be communicated through the ParentLink notification system, Cumberland County Schools website and social media pages, Whitley said.

Methodist University President Stanley T. Wearden announced the university will cancel its on-campus classes, events and offices starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Online classes will meet as scheduled, a news release stated.

Dining services will operate on a normal schedule on campus Wednesday, and the Green and Gold Dining Hall will serve brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner from 5 to 7 p.m. Retail dining options on campus will open at 11 a.m. Thursday.

Essential personnel, such as campus police, maintenance, and housekeeping, will be on campus Thursday.

The university will provide updated information through its campus weather hotline, social media platforms, Methodist University email, and the website.

Harnett County Schools also announced it will operate on a remote learning schedule Thursday “due to potential inclement weather.”

Moore County announced it is canceling all after school activities except after school care Wednesday, and schools will be closed Thursday.

"At this time, we anticipate operating schools on their regular schedules on Friday," the release stated. A final decision about in-person school on Friday will be made by 5 p.m. Thursday, the release stated.

Bladen Community College will close at 4 p.m. Wednesday and remain closed Thursday “due to the predicted inclement weather event of Hurricane Idalia," according to a news release from the college.

The college will provide updates through its text messaging system, website, social media pages and news outlets.

The National Weather Service has issued a tropical storm warning for Scotland, Hoke, Cumberland and Sampson counties.

The warning means tropical storm-force winds, defined as ranging from 39-73 mph, are expected to reach Fayetteville and the Fort Liberty area within the next 36 hours, the NWS website stated. According to the warning, there is potential for wind to be 39-57 mph in the area.

As of about 11:15 a.m., Hurricane Idalia was about 400 southwest of Fayetteville, according to the warning.

The storm is expected to move toward the Carolina coast late Wednesday into Thursday.

“The main impact will be heavy rain and localized flooding,” the warning states. “Tropical storm force winds may cause downed trees and power outages. Isolated tornadoes will also be possible, mainly across the southern coastal plain counties.”

The effects of Hurricane Idalia are expected to be felt in the Fayetteville area by Wednesday evening, according to the National Weather Service.

The Category 4 hurricane hit the Florida coast Wednesday morning before downgrading to a Category 3 storm, but will still bring rain and wind to the area despite weakening, forecasters said.

“We expect to see rain move in this afternoon and ramp up as we get into the evening, especially the late evening and overnight and the first half of the day tomorrow,” said Andrew Kren, a Raleigh-based NWS meteorologist.

Winds are expected to be in the 15-30 mph range, Kren said, but isolated gusts could reach more than 40 mph.

The wind should make its way to the area about 10 p.m. Wednesday and will persist until Thursday afternoon, he said.

More:Weather Permitting: Here's the latest on what Fayetteville can expect from Hurricane Idalia

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“The main risk is heavy rainfall,” Kren said.

Rainfall totals are expected to reach 5-7 inches, and could be more than 7 inches in some areas once the storm moves out, he said.

“There most likely will be threats of flash flooding, along with gusty winds that could potentially cause downed trees and power lines,” Kren said.

A flood watch is in effect until midnight Thursday.

Kren said a flash flood warning could be issued once the storm moves into the area.

Tracking systems indicate the storm should be south of the Outer Banks by 2 p.m. Thursday and shifting toward the coast.

Rachael Riley can be reached at [email protected].