September 25, 2015


Heavy rains, high winds will batter
the beaches through the weekend


By IRENE NOLAN


It now appears that there is no end to the torrential rains, high winds, and heavy seas that are battering the Outer Banks until the end of the weekend.

The National Weather Service in Newport, N.C., says that the combination of a strong high pressure to the north and low pressure to the south will result in gusty northeast winds and large breaking waves into the weekend.

This morning, the Weather Service extended the coastal flood advisory and the high surf advisory until 8 p.m. Sunday for areas north of Cape Hatteras. 

The persistent northeast flow, forecasters say, will result in minor beach erosion and coastal flooding, along with dangerous shorebreak and a high threat of rip currents  north of Cape Hatteras.  These conditions are also sending the ocean surging over south-facing beaches.

The stormy conditions are also arriving during a period of higher than normal meteorological tides, caused by Sunday night's full moon, which is a "supermoon." Water levels along the oceanfront are expected to be pushed to 2 to 3 feet above normal.

NWS meteorologist Brian Cullen said earlier today that forecasters are especially concerned about Saturday night, when wind gusts will be at their highest along the Outer Banks during the high tide, which is at about 7 p.m.

Breaking waves of 6 to 9 feet are expected along the Hatteras and Ocracoke beaches, although the marine forecast calls for seas from 11 to 15 feet north of Oregon Inlet.

The wind, which has been gusty from the northeast for a week or more, let up some yesterday and today, but is expected to increase again tomorrow as the low moves closer to Cape Hatteras.  Winds of 30 to 35 mph with gusts over 40 are possible Saturday afternoon and night.

Currently, a gale warning has been issued for area waters north of Ocracoke and for the Pamlico Sound.  Winds of 20 to 30 knots with gusts over 40 knots are expected with seas from 9 to 14 feet on the ocean.

The Weather Service says there is a possibility that advisories will be upgraded later tonight or tomorrow to a wind advisory and a coastal flood warning.

Heavy rain will continue tonight, tomorrow and tomorrow night.  Two inches of rain fell at Billy Mitchell Airport in Frisco on Thursday, and it's been coming down steady all day on Hatteras and Ocracoke. Periods of heavy to moderate rain will continue with an additional 1 to 3 inches possible with locally heavier amounts.

Highway 12 remains open, with ponding of the water and sand on the highway in places.  Travelers over the weekend should check the latest conditions.

If there are any closures or serious issues along Highway 12 or other local roads while the system is along the coast, NCDOT says they will be posted on the Traveler Information page for Dare County at http://tims.ncdot.gov/tims/RegionSummary.aspx?co=28.

The gusty winds and heavy rain are also affecting ferry schedules. For the latest updates on ferry routes, check out the NCDOT Ferry Division Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/ncdot_ferry

For the latest updates and advisories, go the local Weather Service website at www. www.weather.gov/mhx.

The nasty weather is expected to lift northeast away from the Outer Banks on Sunday into Monday, and the forecast for early next week is for sunnier and drier conditions.



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