September 24, 2015

Weather Service issues coastal flood
advisory, monitors weekend forecast


The National Weather Service in Newport, N.C., has issued a coastal flood advisory until 6 p.m. today for areas north of Cape Hatteras. In addition, the high surf advisory issued earlier in the week continues today, also until 6 p.m.

At the same time, the Weather Service is keeping a wary eye on forecast models for the weekend, when the gusty, northeast winds -- somewhat lighter today -- could pick up again, bringing the threat of high seas and coastal flooding during a full moon.

Forecasters say that a combination of a persistent area of low pressure several hundred miles offshore to the southeast of the Outer Banks and a strong high pressure area to the north will keep the winds gusty and from the northeast for much of the rest of the week.

Breaking waves in the surf zone are forecast for 6 to 9 feet, and the continued onshore fetch will cause water levels to rise 2 to 3 feet above normal. Minor ocean overwash is possible on east-facing beaches on northern Hatteras Island, especially around the time of high tide, which is at 5 p.m. today.

There has been some ocean overwash already in north Buxton during high tides yesterday afternoon and overnight.

The Weather Service also warns swimmers of  strong shorebreak and a high threat of rip currents, which are most likely several hours either side of low tide, which occurs late tonight and late morning tomorrow.

Rip currents are powerful, channeled currents of water flowing quickly away from shore. They typically extend from the shoreline, through the surf zone, and past the line of breaking waves. Swimmers are advised to use extreme caution and to never try to swim directly back into shore against a rip current.  Swim parallel to the beach until you are out of the rip current and then head in.

The northeast wind has backed off some today after gusting well over 30 mph at times on Wednesday.  The winds are forecast to continue somewhat lighter --northeast at about 15 to 20 mph -- into tomorrow.

However, the Weather Service warns that the low pressure now offshore will continue to move slowly to the west and come ashore south of the Outer Banks on Friday.

Next, developing low pressure over the southeast coast is expected to move northeast over the weekend, near the North Carolina Coast.

"There is still considerable uncertainty regarding the eventual track, and intensity of this system," the Weather Service said in an e-mail this morning.

However, if the persistent northeast wind picks up again, coastal flooding could again be a concern on northern Hatteras.  The flooding threat will be amplified by several days of higher than normal astronomical tides that will occur around this month's "supermoon" on Sunday, Sept. 27.

The gray skies and showery weather is also forecast to continue into the weekend, with the chance of precipitation at 70 percent Friday and Saturday and 50 percent on Sunday.

The miserable weather should lift out to the northeast late Sunday or Monday, bringing partly cloudy skies and high temperatures in the upper 70s to around 80 next week.

To keep up with the latest forecasts and advisories, go to the local Weather Service website at

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