Gonzalo expected to become major
hurricane but stay far offshore
By IRENE NOLAN
seventh named tropical storm of the season, Gonzalo, became a hurricane
overnight and is forecast to become a major hurricane -- perhaps a
Category 4 -- as it heads northwest and then north in the open Atlantic.
afternoon at 5 p.m., the hurricane winds were 115 mph and the storm was
moving northwest at 13 mph. Strengthening is still expected as
Gonzalo turns more to the north and eventually northeast.
On this course, it will stay far offshore of the East Coast and could threaten Bermuda later in the week.
along the northern Outer Banks are forecast to build gradually as the
southeast swell from Gonzalo increases through the week. Seas are
expected to peak at 6 to 9 feet late Friday and then subside to 4 to 7
feet by Saturday, according to the National Weather Service in Newport,
A small craft advisory is in effect for the coastal waters until 2 p.m. on Saturday.
onshore southeast winds of today will shift to the west early Thursday
with the passage of a cold front. Winds will remain more west and
southwest into the weekend with the passage of another dry front on
With winds offshore, NWS forecaster Hal Austin said
northern Hatteras Island shouldn't have problems with overwash -- even
with the swells from the distant hurricane.
The slow moving cold
front will cross the area on Wednesday into Wednesday night. Scattered
to numerous showers and thunderstorms ahead of the front will produce
locally heavy rain, with amounts of more than 1 inch possible. Some of
storms could possibly be severe with strong wind gusts and an isolated