August 29, 2016
Tropical storm watch hoisted for Hatteras, Ocracoke
By IRENE NOLAN
National Hurricane Center has issued a tropical storm watch for the
North Carolina coast from Cape Lookout to north to Oregon Inlet,
including Hatteras and Ocracoke islands.
According to the Hurricane Center, at 8 a.m., Tropical Depression 8 was
comprised of a swirl of low-level clouds accompanied by minimal shower
activity about 210 miles southeast of Buxton.
Models still forecast wind shear to decrease during the next day or two
and for the depression to move into a more moist environment with
modest strengthening as it approaches eastern North Carolina.
The depression is moving northwest near 9 mph this morning. This
general motion with a slower forward speed is expected later today,
with a turn toward the north forecast on Tuesday or Tuesday
night. On the forecast track, the center of the depression will
be near Cape Hatteras late Tuesday.
Maximum sustained winds remain near 35 mph with higher gusts.
Slow strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and the
depression is expected to become a tropical storm by tonight.
Whether it becomes Hermine or Ian will depend on the future of Tropical
Depression 9, which is heading out of the Florida straits into the Gulf
of Mexico. The depression is also forecast to become a tropical
storm later today.
Tropical Depression nine is expected to curve to the north and then
northeast, moving over Florida and into the Atlantic, perhaps passing
offshore of North Carolina late in the week.
Meanwhile, back to Tropical Depression 8, which will approach the
southern Outer Banks on Tuesday and then turn abruptly to the
north-northeast and then northeast and away from the coast on Wednesday.
The National Weather Service office in Newport/Morehead City says
tropical storm conditions are possible on Hatteras and Ocracoke Tuesday
into Tuesday night.
The primary impacts in our area will be heavy rainfall with minor
flooding, high winds -- with the highest winds offshore of the islands
-- possible beach erosion, and a high chance of rip currents all along
the North Carolina Coast into midweek.
Rainfall amounts are expected to range from 1 to 3 inches with isolated
higher amounts to 5 inches, which could result in minor flooding of
low-lying areas. The timing of potential heavy rain, forecasters
say, could be anytime today through Tuesday night in heavy rain bands.
The strongest winds are expected to remain along or just off the coast. Mariners are urged to remain in port.
The strongest sustained winds are expected to remain on the Outer Banks and could reach 35 to 45 mph with gusts to 55 possible.
The timing of the strongest wind impacts will be Tuesday afternoon
through Tuesday night. The Weather Service also notes that any rain
squall today through Tuesday could produce winds of tropical storm
force -- 39 mph.
Minor water level rises of a foot or less above normal are expected
across the southern Pamlico Sound and soundside Ocracoke and Hatteras
Seas will peak at 11 to 14 feet late Tuesday evening into Tuesday night before subsiding dramatically on Wednesday.
Significant long-period swells from the tropical activity will start
reaching the beaches today. There is a high risk of rip currents along
all area beaches today and the threat will likely continue into
midweek. Beach-goers should use extreme caution if they are in
The best chance of rip current is either side of low tide, which occurs
about 11:30 a.m. to noon on Monday, though with the tropical system off
the coast, rip currents are possible at any time.
Residents and visitors are advised to keep up with the latest forecasts from the local National Weather Service office at www.weather.gov/mhx/.