September 29, 2010

More stormy weather in store for Hatteras and Ocracoke


This week on Hatteras and Ocracoke has already been pretty much of a wash-out, and it’s not likely to get much better until Friday.

The watches and warnings are flying out of the National Weather Service in Newport, N.C., but John Cole, warning coordination meteorologist, says a tropical storm watch or warning is not in our future – at least at this point.

That’s because Tropical Storm Nicole, which is now down around Cuba and South Florida with winds of only 40 mph, is expected to move northeast off Florida and fizzle out.

A complex set of conditions will bring us very windy conditions with heavy rains tonight and into tomorrow. 

Our weather will be, he said, indirectly related to Nicole, but more the result of a stalled cold front over the area that has sent waves of low pressure moving along it and brought us almost 6 inches from Sunday through Tuesday.

Cole said a non-tropical low will form south of the area tonight and tomorrow and move inland.

He added that, although our weather might not be directly related to Nicole, the impacts will be the same as a minimal tropical storm.

At mid-afternoon, there was a wind advisory, a coastal flood advisory, a high surf advisory, and a flood watch in effect for the Outer Banks of Dare and Hyde counties.  And, just in case, you were thinking about taking a swim, there is also a high threat of rip currents.

Here is what Cole said we can expect on the islands:

  • Southerly winds increasing to gale force tonight – first southeast and then switching more to the south.  We could see sustained winds of 25-35 with some gusts as high as 50 mph.
  • Minor storm surge with a possibility of ocean overwash and minor beach erosion, mostly south of Cape Hatteras.
  • Soundside flooding now looks to be more likely on the mainland.  When the winds shift to north on Friday, they are forecast to blow about 20 mph from the north, so soundside flooding is not now predicted for Hatteras or Ocracoke.
  • Up to four more inches of rain tonight, tomorrow, and into early Friday. The heaviest rainfall he said will be west of the Outer Banks.
  • High tide is about midnight tonight and noon on Thursday, which, Cole said, is when we can expect the most ocean overwash.
  • The high wind and southeast swell will build seas to 7 to 10 feet tonight with a peak of 14-19 on Thursday.

Since Jan 1, there have been 53 inches of rain measured at Billy Mitchell Airfield in Buxton, which is about 10.4 inches above normal.  The rainfall in September, including during Hurricane Earl, measured 10.82 inches at midnight last night.  That is 5.5 inches above normal for the month.

The forecast for the weekend is for cooler and drier weather.

For more information and updates on the forecast, go to

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