August 4, 2014
Bertha will bring large swell,
rip currents to Outer Banks
By IRENE NOLAN
Storm Bertha quickly intensified and became the second hurricane of the
Atlantic season this morning. The good news for the Outer Banks is that
the storm will stay well offshore, passing between Cape Hatteras and
Bermuda tomorrow into early Wednesday.
At 5 p.m., Bertha was a
Category 1 hurricane with winds of 75 mph -- down from 80 mph earlier
in the day. It is expected to make its closest pass to the coast
tomorrow afternoon or evening as a 75 mph storm.
will bring a large swell to the coast, which is great for surfers, but
it is also expected to bring an elevated risk of rip currents --
not such good news for visitors who are looking forward to
returning to the beach after four straight cloudy, soggy days.
Chris Collins, says The National Weather Service in Newport, N.C., is
forecasting seas of 6 to 9 feet, peaking tomorrow afternoon.
small craft advisory is in effect for coastal waters from Oregon Inlet
to Ocracoke Inlet from 2 a.m. Tuesday until 5 a.m. Wednesday.
Weather Service also warns that there will be a high threat of
life-threatening rip currents along area beaches tomorrow that could
last into Wednesday.
Rip currents are powerful, channeled
currents of water flowing away from shore. They typically extend from
the shoreline, through the surf zone, and past the line of breaking
waves. Rip currents can occur at any beach with breaking waves, and are
especially prevalent around two hours before until two hours after low
Beachgoers should be especially vigilant about rip
currents. Tips about spotting rip currents and escaping them can
be found in the graphic on this page. More information is
available on the Weather Service website at http://www.erh.noaa.gov/mhx/RipHazard.html.
Scott Busbey, owner of Natural Art Surf Shop in Buxton, says the
surfers are watching and waiting for Bertha's swell. He said there
hasn't been much swell at all this summer, so the surfers are
especially looking forward to tomorrow.
"There will be plenty of people here," he said. "They are coming from all over."
Busbey added that the swell will probably do a quick "in and out." Indeed, SwellInfo (www.swellinfo.com) predicts the waves will be highest between 1 and 5 p.m. tomorrow and will peak at 8.1 feet about 2 o'clock.
soggy weekend on Hatteras and Ocracoke was caused by a stalled frontal
boundary and abundant tropical moisture that kept showers and
thunderstorms along the coast from early Friday into this evening.
Rainfall began early Friday and, with only a few shorts breaks, continued into this evening.
through 8 a.m. this morning totaled 4.19 inches at Billy Mitchell
Airport in Frisco, and 3.16 inches on Ocracoke through midnight last
night. Collins said there could have been locally higher amounts.
flood watch continues into tonight with more showers expected
overnight. Rainfall tapers off tomorrow with only a 50 percent
chance of showers and temperatures in the mid-80s.