October 31, 2014

UPDATE: Frightful forecast gets more frightful


The National Weather Service is ramping up its forecast for heavy weather for Hatteras and Ocracoke islands over the weekend, including northwest winds gusting upwards of 45 to 55 mph, likely soundside flooding, possible ocean overwash, high seas, and 1 to 2 inches of rain with locally heavier amounts.

According to the NWS forecast discussion, a "very impressive" upper system will have "significant" impacts on eastern North Carolina Saturday into Sunday.

An unusually deep upper low for this time of year is forecast to track across South Carolina on Saturday and then move off the North Carolina coast Saturday night.  An associated surface coastal low pressure system will rapidly deepen off the Outer Banks Saturday afternoon and continue to deepen as it pulls away from the region Saturday night. The system will produce strong north to northwest winds.

On Friday afternoon, the Weather Service office in Newport, N.C., issued a storm warning for the coastal waters off the islands, a gale warning for the Pamlico Sound, and a high wind advisory for the Outer Banks of Dare and Hyde counties. A high surf advisory and a coastal flood advisory are likely to be issued later this evening.

A cold front will move through the area early Sunday with the coldest temperatures of the fall season.  While mainland areas will probably see a frost or freeze, temperatures along the Outer Banks will dip only into the mid-40s.

Here are the details:

  • The wind advisory is in effect from 11 p.m. Saturday until 10 a.m. on Sunday on the Outer Banks. Northwest winds are forecast at 30 to 40 mph with gusts up to 55 mph. A high wind warning could be issued later for damaging gusts along the coast.
  • A storm warning for winds 35 to 45 mph and gusts to 55 mph and seas 13 to 18 feet has been issued for the coastal waters from Oregon Inlet to Ocracoke Inlet from 10 p.m. Saturday until 7 a.m. on Sunday.
  • A gale warning for winds 25 to 35 mph with gusts to 45 mph and seas 3 to 5 feet has been issued for the Pamlico Sound from 6 p.m. on Saturday to 11 a.m.
  • The Weather Service says minor soundside flooding is likely on southern Hatteras Island and Ocracoke with water-level increases of 2 to 3 feet. Depending on the exact wind direction and the duration of the highest winds, moderate water level rises are possible.
  • The heavy winds will bring very high surf to the oceanside of the islands. Ocean overwash will be a concern on northern Hatteras Island at the S-curves and the temporary Pea Island Inlet bridge because of wave run-up with the expected 13- to 18-foot seas off the coast.
  • Rainfall of 1 to 2 inches with locally higher amounts is expected along the Outer Banks.
  • Temperatures will be in the lower- to mid-60s along the Outer Banks on Saturday. Expect temperatures to drop into the 50s overnight and struggle to get out of the 50s on Sunday even under sunny skies. Sunday night will be in the mid-40s. Temperatures will rebound into the 60s on Monday.

The early part of next week will see mainly clear skies and seasonal temperatures. A cold front will bring clouds and another chance for showers Wednesday night into Thursday.

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