October 4, 2015


Outer Banks braces for high winds and
coastal flooding...WITH SLIDE SHOW


By IRENE NOLAN 



After the surprise of a warm sunny day on Saturday, the Outer Banks is bracing for the possibility of high winds and coastal flooding tonight into Monday.

The National Weather Service in Newport has issued a coastal flood warning for the area until 8 p.m. on Monday and a wind advisory until midnight on Tuesday.

The forecast calls for high surf, minor to moderate water level rises of 2 to 4 feet, and moderate dune erosion, coastal flooding, and ocean overwash, especially at times of high tide -- about 1:45 a.m. tonight and about 2 tomorrow afternoon. Breaking waves are expected to be between 8 and 12 feet, possibly reaching 15 feet.

After battering the Bahamas and threatening the U.S. East Coast, powerful Hurricane Joaquin has continued to move out to sea. The the winds peaked yesterday at 155 mph. This afternoon, the storm was moving northeast toward Bermuda with winds down to 105 mph and it is expected to pass west of that island today.

Even though Joaquin will pass hundreds of miles to the east of Hatteras and Ocracoke, the islands are being affected by ocean swells from the storm and many days of persistent onshore winds that have been increasing today.   

The combination of a coastal low off the southeast coast and high pressure to the north will tightened the pressure gradient to bring strong onshore winds from today into tomorrow.  The Weather Service is forecasting winds of 15 to 25 with gusts to 40 mph.  Gale warnings are also in effect for the coastal waters.

After yesterday's lull, the rain picked up again this afternoon as the coastal low moved toward the North Carolina coast, and it is expected to continue into Monday.  Standing water on the roadways in a problem in places in all of the villages, especially the northern end of Hatteras, Avon around Kinnakeet Shores, and the tri-villages.

At this afternoon's high tide, around 1:30, oceanwash was pouring over the dunes in north Buxton.  Some overwash was also reported around Sandy Bay, just outside Hatteras village, and in front of the village's Civic Center.

Ocean overwash has already closed Highway 12 on north Ocracoke between the Pony Pens and the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry dock.  The ferry is not running, and the island is under an evacuation order and state of emergency with only residents, non-resident property owners, and limited vendors allowed on via the Swan Quarter or Cedar Island ferries.

The ocean is breaking on -- if not over the dunes -- in all parts of the seashore.  All off-road vehicle ramps are closed and Park Service facilities and campgrounds are shuttered. Even pedestrian access is difficult on most beaches on and either side of high tide.

Highway 12 on Hatteras Island remains open at this time, but emergency officials will be closely monitoring tomorrow's early morning high tide at about 1:45 a.m. and the early afternoon high tide at about 2 p.m.

Hatteras Island had no evacuations last week, and visitors are being allowed on the island.

Conditions will be improving late Monday into Tuesday with sunny skies and a high of about 73 forecast for Wednesday.

Meanwhile, residents and visitors should closely monitor weather and road conditions.

For the most up to date information regarding road conditions along Highway 12, visit the NCDOT NC 12 Facebook Page at facebook.com/NCDOT.  For other road conditions, call 1-877-DOT-4YOU or 1-877-638-4968, or dial 511.

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

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE SLIDE SHOW


 
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