May 4, 2015
media, weather websites, and television have been jammed today with
speculation that a subtropical or tropical system could form in the
area of the Bahamas mid-week and threaten the southeast coast with
nasty weather by week's end almost a full month before the official
beginning of the hurricane season.
Tropical system could affect Outer Banks by week's end
By IRENE NOLAN
are looking at low pressure forming along the remnants of a dying cold
front in the western Atlantic between Cuba and the Bahamas over the
next few days. Some computer models are suggesting that the low
could take on tropical or subtropical characteristics by the end of the
the models vary greatly on whether the storm will become tropical, how
strong it might be, and what direction it might move in.
to the National Hurricane Center's Tropical Weather Outlook, "This
system could gradually acquire some subtropical characteristics by
Thursday or Friday as it
moves generally northward at a slow forward speed."
The Hurricane Center today gave the system a 30 percent chance of being a tropical or subtropical storm in the next five days.
than likely, it will be hybrid system," John Cole, warning coordination
meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Newport, N.C., said
today. He also stressed that it was unclear at this point where the
system will move and when.
GFS -- or American -- model, he said, takes the storm into South
Carolina Thursday night into Friday, while the European model keeps the
storm well offshore. In the European scenario, the low would head
back west toward the southeast coast, hang offshore for a few days, and
then weaken and get picked up by another front coming through early
high pressure to our north, Cole said, will work to keep whatever
system develops mostly south of the Outer Banks, but the pressure
gradient could also contribute to gusty northeast and east winds late
in the week.
matter what the eventual path and strength of the low pressure,
forecasters say that the Outer Banks could see indirect coastal impacts
late in the week -- gusty winds, heavy seas, rip currents, and perhaps
Outer Banks' east-facing beaches were beat up again over the weekend by
gusty northerly winds and heavy seas in the wake of a cold front
that passed through the area on Friday.
waves at high tide during a full moon took a toll on the north Buxton
oceanfront, where six houses have already been declared "unsafe" for
habitation. Waves beat on the oceanfront structures again and water
rushed through the streets behind the breached dunes.
the northern Outer Banks, the N.C. Department of Transportation closed
a section of Highway 12 at the end of Kitty Hawk Road early Saturday
after waves from the storm washed away 500 feet of dune in this area,
as well as sand from under the road. DOT recognized the safety hazard
and closed the road in advance of any possible collapse. A portion of
the northbound lane did collapse Saturday evening, resulting in 200
feet of pavement damage.
that waves have calmed down, DOT was preparing to get temporary repairs
started before the end of the day today. In order to open the road to
traffic, crews will remove all damaged pavement and refill the area
back up with sand. Once the sand is in place, they will then pave the
area so traffic can be restored as soon as possible. The department
currently expects the road to reopen to traffic by the end of the week.
this work is taking place, NCDOT staff will work on preparing plans and
acquiring necessary permits for the reconstruction of the dune. A
timeframe for reconstruction is not available at this time.
12 is currently closed to through traffic between White Avenue and East
Balchen Street. Local traffic can access houses and businesses along
the road within the closure limits -- but cannot cross the area where
the damage took place. Through traffic will continue to use a signed
If the coastal low off the southeast does become a hurricane, it would be unusual this early in the season, but not unheard of.
to weather records dating back to 1851, 39 tropical storms have formed
in the Atlantic basin before June 1. The last time this happened was in
2012 when two tropical systems formed in May -- Alberto and
Beryl. Beryl came ashore in north Florida as a tropical storm
after meandering around in the ocean.
If this system does become tropical or subtropical, it will be named Ana.