Tropical Storm Claudette approached North Carolina coast from the west on Monday with wind and rain, after causing at least 13 deaths as it passed through Alabama and damage in parts of that state, Florida and Georgia, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported on Monday.
The center of Claudette, the third tropical storm this year in the Atlantic basin and the first to make landfall in the United States, was at 14.00 GMT about 15 miles (25 km) west of Duke, North Carolina, and about 30 miles (50 km) from Norfolk, Virginia.
It had maximum sustained winds of 40 miles (65 km/h) and was moving in an east-northeasterly direction at 28 miles per hour (45 km/h).
Claudette made landfall on the northern Gulf of Mexico coast early Saturday morning shortly after reaching tropical storm status with winds of 45 mph (75 km/h).
As it moved across the southeastern United States, this low-pressure front gradually lost strength and was downgraded to a tropical depression, but on Sunday night it regained strength and returned to tropical storm characteristics.
Claudette is projected to reach the Atlantic Ocean on Monday and on Tuesday, transformed into a post-tropical cyclone, will pass just south of Nova Scotia, Canada, and then dissipate.
Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles (220 km) from the center in Claudette’s southeast quadrant.
The primary risk from Claudette before it moves out to the ocean is rain, which can cause flooding.
Alabama is the state hardest hit by Claudette, with a total of 13 deaths in rain and wind-related accidents.
Ten people, the vast majority of them children, were killed when a van and a car collided on a highway near Montgomery in heavy rain.
In another accident, a father and son were killed when a tree fell on their home near Tuscaloosa.
In addition, a woman whose car ran off the road and into a creek in Alabama lost her life, and a man is being sought who is believed to have fallen into an overflowing river in the same state.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), on which the NHC depends, this Atlantic cyclone season will be less intense than the 2020 season, but more active than normal.
NOAA forecasts the formation of 13 to 20 named tropical storms and 6 to 10 hurricanes, of which 3 to 5 would be major category (3, 4 and 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale).
This Atlantic hurricane season will have “above normal” activity, although it is not expected to be similar to that of 2020, which broke all-time records with 30 named storms, according to Ben Friedman, NOAA administrator.