January 22, 2016
A windy, wet weekend for Hatteras and Ocracoke
By IRENE NOLAN
mainland areas west of Hatteras and Ocracoke were being pummeled with
light sleet, freezing rain, and even some snow this morning, but as of
mid-day, the islands hadn't seen even a drop of rain.
The rain will move in this afternoon, however, and the winds will pick
up to gale force, threatening both Hatteras and Ocracoke with high surf
and possible beach erosion and minor coastal flooding until Sunday
morning -- with flooding possible on both the oceanside and soundside
of the islands.
The Weather Service in Newport/Morehead City, N.C., said on Friday that
a low pressure area in the southeast brought this morning's wintry
weather to inland areas of the state. Far inland, toward Raleigh,
Charlotte, and into the mountains, the snow is expected to be heavy
enough before the weekend ends that the governor has declared a state
of emergency and the Department of Transportation and emergency
services are geared up.
The low pressure will move along the North Carolina coast Friday night
and then race off to the northeast on Saturday. Blizzard warnings are
posted for areas of the mid-Atlantic, where historic snowfalls are
Those of us on the Outer Banks, however, will see pretty much a
run-of-the-mill northeaster, unless there are big changes in the
The National Weather Service is predicting somewhat lesser amounts of
rain than yesterday. The forecasters say we can expect 1 to 2
inches, with higher amounts possible in isolated areas. The
heaviest rain will be later Friday night and early Saturday morning.
And, this morning, the Weather Service said there is even a chance --
although only marginal -- for an isolated severe thunderstorm on
Hatteras or Ocracoke this evening.
Winds are also expected to pick up from the southeast later this afternoon.
A wind advisory is in effect from 5 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m.
Saturday. Winds are forecast at 25 to 35 mph with gusts to 45 to
A high surf advisory is also in effect from 7 p.m. Friday until 10 a.m.
Saturday. Breaking waves of 7 to 10 feet are expected, along with
the threat of dangerous shorebreak, rip currents, and beach erosion.
A coastal flood watch is in effect from Saturday evening until Sunday morning.
Gale warnings are in effect for all coastal waters until 10 a.m. on Sunday.
The strong winds will build seas to 10 to 15 feet over coastal waters Friday night through Saturday night.
There may be a lull in the winds late Friday into Saturday. However,
the Weather Service says that strong west to northwest winds will
develop on the backside of the low late Saturday into Saturday night.
John Cole, warning coordination meteorologist at the Weather Service,
said this morning another wind advisory for the Outer Banks is very
likely to be issued for Saturday night into early Sunday when winds are
forecast at 25 to 35 mph from the northwest with gusts at 45 to 50.
High surf, beach erosion, and minor coastal flooding are possible, with
the greatest threat over the northern Outer Banks, north of Oregon
Inlet, where coastal flooding may be more moderate -- water levels in
the range of 2 to 4 feet above normal, especially at Sunday
morning's high tide at about 6 a.m.
Minor to moderate soundside flooding is also possible, though the
threat is lower for southern Hatteras and Ocracoke than the northern
The Weather Service is also forecasting snow showers late Saturday into
Sunday night as the low moves away from the Outer Banks and the cold
air pours in from the northwest.
Accumulations of less than an inch are possible north and west of the
Outer Banks, though the Weather Service is not expecting problems with
roads that will be wet and warmer from the rain.
Snow showers are possible on the northern Outer Banks, but Cole said
Hatteras and Ocracoke will probably not see any snow at all.
However, as usual, it all comes down to the fact that snow is
notoriously difficult to predict and the forecast could change with
just a minor movement of the low pressure more to the west or east as
it passes along the coast.
To check the latest forecasts and keep up with advisories, watches, and
warning, go to the National Weather Service in Newport/Morehead City
website at www.weather.gov/mhx. Updates are also posted on the NWS
Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/NWSMoreheadCity/?fref=ts
FOR MORE INFORMATION
to see a presentation by the National Weather Service in
Newport/Morehead City on the coastal storm that is expected to affect
the Outer Banks from Friday, Jan. 22, into Sunday, Jan. 24.