low pressure area that is now almost stationary off the coast of
central Florida may well be threatening the Outer Banks by July 4.
National Hurricane Center gives the low an 80 percent chance of becoming
a tropical storm very soon, and some models take it to hurricane
strength by the end of the week.
If it does become a tropical storm later tonight or tomorrow, it will be named Arthur.
there is still uncertainty in the track and intensity, forecasters are
saying it could be a "disruptive" storm on the holiday weekend for the
coast of the Carolinas and perhaps the northeastern U.S.
afternoon an NWS Hurricane Hunter aircraft found winds of 30 to 35 mph
in the storm -- they must reach 39 mph to become a tropical
storm. The thunderstorms are not now wrapped around the low,
which is about 200 miles across -- but are mostly to the south.
disturbance, currently being called Invest 91-L, is currently
caught between high pressure systems -- one to the east and one to the
west, which is keeping it in place for now, and some dry air is mixing
in from the north. By later in the week, a dip in the jet stream
and an approaching front are expected to lift the storm north along the
southeast coast of the U.S.
Most models are starting to agree
that the storm will pass very close to the Outer Banks. However,
whether it will be inshore or offshore of the barrier island and the
intensity are still unknowns.
In the short term, the system will drift west or southwest toward the Florida coast and start lifting north about Wednesday.
The forecast is for the storm to start intensifying Wednesday and Thursday off the South Carolina coast.
July 4, it will be off the North Carolina coast, and will probably move
very close to the Outer Banks -- probably at its maximum intensity.
models that forecasters often look at -- the USGFS and the European
model (ECMWF) --have the storm just offshore off of Cape Hatteras about
mid-day on Friday. The European model is currently predicting
winds at 86 knots and the GFS, about 60 knots.
Of course, it is
still possible that the low will not behave as forecast. We are not
guaranteed a tropical storm or a hurricane. The storm could not
intensify or it could pass far offshore, and we might get only
thunderstorms and some wind on Hatteras and Ocracoke.
would with any storm so close to the U.S. and over very warm Gulf
Stream waters, forecasters and emergency managers are paying very close
attention. And some businesses, especially rental management companies
are starting to make contingency plans for later this holiday week when
the Outer Banks will be jammed with visitors.
Weather Service in Newport, N.C., is forecasting increasing chances of
precipitation and higher winds and seas by Thursday, continuing into
Dare and Hyde county Emergency Management Offices are monitoring the storm.
and visitors should be aware of changing weather conditions, keep up
with the local and tropical forecasts on radio, television, or the
Internet, and listen for any announcements from emergency management.
The local NWS weather service office in Newport's website is http://www.weather.gov/mhx/. The National Hurricane Center can be found at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.