Tropical Storm Michael continues to pass from South Carolina into North Carolina, at wind speeds of around 45-55 miles per hour, and the next half-day will see it transform into something else entirely. Michael’s strength is expected to stay consistent as the storm moves over the western Atlantic. Late tonight, Michael will transform into an extratropical cyclone and accelerate moving northeastward.

After making landfall in Florida as a destructive Category 4 hurricane with 155 mph winds Wednesday afternoon, Hurricane Michael weakened into a tropical storm by Thursday morning. Michael marks the third-most intense continental landfalls of a hurricane by pressure at 919 millibars. Hurricane Michael surprised Florida residents and scientists, evolving from a tropical storm to hurricane in the course of two days. Despite the recent downgrade, Tropical Storm Michael remains a threat through heavy rainfall and up to 50 mph winds, as of 5 a.m. Eastern.

Flash flood risk map
North Carolina and Virginia are at over 50 percent risk of flash flooding.

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Regions of the Carolinas and southeastern Virginia are still at high risk (over 50 percent chance) for excessive rainfall and under Storm Surge Watch. Areas of the southeast U.S. coast, beginning from Georgia, remain under tropical storm warning as of 5 a.m. Thursday. Duke Energy estimates that Michael could cause anywhere from 300,000 to 500,000 power outages in the Carolinas, reported a ABC affiliate WTVD in North Carolina.

Areas of central and eastern North Carolina and southeast Virginia are also at enhanced risk (level 3 on a 5-level scale) for tornadoes later today. Raleigh and Durham in North Carolina are located in this enhanced risk zone, as well as Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, and Norfolk in Virginia. Severe risk will end the tornado watch by 9 p.m. Eastern on Thursday.

As emergency response teams attempt to address Michael’s destruction in Florida, including loss of power, property damage, and rescues, Tropical Storm Michael is projected to move offshore into the Atlantic, reaching the eastern tip of Canada by 7 a.m. Saturday.

During the time Michael remains on land, The National Weather Service advises citizens to never drive or walk into floodwaters and to stay off roads when possible.