February 6, 2016
UPDATE: NWS upgrades watches to
By IRENE NOLAN
warnings for 'dangerous' coastal storm
National Weather Service in Newport/Morehead City this afternoon
upgraded its wind and coastal flood watches to warnings that are in
effect from Sunday morning into Monday.
In the afternoon's update, Richard Bandy, meteorologist in charge, said
the nasty weather will be caused by a "strong coastal low that will be
intensifying off of our coast, resulting in very dangerous conditions."
"We expect very strong winds and significant coastal flooding
that will begin tomorrow morning and could continue to have impacts
into Monday on the Outer Banks," Bandy said. "There will also be very
dangerous boating conditions with a storm warning in effect for the
sounds as well as the coastal waters."
The low will form off the southeast coast on Sunday and rapidly deepen
as it moves along the North Carolina coast Sunday afternoon and Sunday
night. Pressures in the storm could drop below 990 millibars,
which is equivalent to a tropical system or weak hurricane.
These are the warnings in effect for the Outer Banks.
A high wind warning from 9 a.m. Sunday until 4 a.m. Monday for winds from 30 to 40 mph with gusts to 60 mph.
A coastal flood warning from 10 a.m. Sunday until 4 p.m. on Monday for
the oceanside from Cape Hatteras north through Kitty Hawk and for
soundside locations, especially on southern Hatteras and Ocracoke.
A storm warning for all coastal waters from 7 a.m. Sunday until 7 a.m.
Monday in the Pamlico Sound and coastal waters for winds from 35 to 45
knots with gusts to 60 knots. Seas are forecast to reach 12 to 17 feet.
The coastal flooding will be an issue for both oceanside and soundside
areas of the islands. Water levels of 3 to 5 feet above normal
Impacts on the ocean beach will include storm surge and wave run-up
that will peak about the time of high tide Monday morning, which is
around 7 a.m. Large, battering waves will result in overwash and
significant erosion. The Weather Service warns that vulnerable
structures in the surf zone could be damaged and Highway 12 could
become inundated and impassable.
In the early afternoon on Sunday, the northeast winds will become more
north and northwest and raise the water levels on the southern Pamlico
Sound. Portions of Buxton, Frisco, Hatteras village, and Ocracoke could
see water level rises of 1 to 3 feet above ground level.
Up to 1.5 inches of rain is also possible along Hatteras and Ocracoke
islands, which were inundated with almost 4 inches of rain Thursday and
Friday. In fact, Friday's rainfall at Cape Hatteras -- 1.61
inches -- beat the previous record of 1.57 inches, set last year.
Temperatures in the low 40s tonight will rise to about 50 tomorrow and fall back into the mid-40s on Sunday night.
The storm should quickly move northeast Sunday night with conditions improving on Monday.
However, Arctic air will drop into the area, and temperatures are
forecast to be below normal for most of next week -- with lows in the
30s and highs in the 40s. On the up side, dry conditions are
expected all week.
Bandy of the Weather Service is urging all residents and visitors to
"be prepared and continue to monitor this dangerous weather situation
for the coast."
For updated forecasts and more information, go to the NWS website at www.weather.gov/mhx or the Newport/Morehead City Facebook Page.