National Weather Service in Newport/Morehead City has extended the
coastal flood advisory it issued earlier this week until next Tuesday,
Oct. 18, at 8 p.m.
The advisory is for the coastal waters and counties adjacent to the Pamlico Sound, including Hatteras and Ocracoke.
In addition, the Weather Service has issued a coastal hazards statement
for all of the Outer Banks beaches for a high threat of rip currents
and dangerous shorebreak. The statement is for today, but
forecasters warn that breezy northeast winds and long period swells
from distant tropical cyclone Nicole will keep seas rough at least
through the weekend.
Wave heights of 3 to 6 feet are expected today north of Cape Lookout.
The Weather Service also says minor to moderate coastal flooding on the
oceanside of the islands will likely develop by this weekend. The
oceanside flooding will be caused by large swells, persistent northeast
and north winds and astronomical high tides. The full moon is Sunday,
The Weather Service says that gauges adjacent to Pamlico Sound continue
to indicate water levels 1 to 2 feet above normal because of
floodwaters from Matthew's record rainfall that is moving down rivers
and their tributaries and draining into the sound.
Minor coastal flooding along the sounds will continue into next week
because of these floodwaters, gusty north winds, and because of
increasing astronomical tides, which will peak early next week.
Most Hatteras islanders have noticed that even after Matthew's storm
surge receded late Sunday, Oct. 9, that the water levels on the
soundside would rise in the afternoon about the time of high
tide. Part of the increased water levels Monday were because of
north winds that were still blowing 15 to 20 mph.
The Weather Service says that Hatteras and Ocracoke residents can
expect water levels to remain about 2 feet above normal, with locally
higher amounts up to 3 feet above normal..
Swimming in the ocean will remain dangerous through this period.
With various tropical systems hanging around offshore during September
and early October, the rip current threat has been high along the Outer
Banks more days than not.
Rip currents are most likely around low tide, which is around 12:30 a.m. on Friday.
Rip currents are powerful, usually narrow channeled currents of water,
flowing away from shore. They typically extend from the shoreline,
through the surf zone, and past the line of breaking waves. Rip
currents can occur at any beach with breaking waves.
Swimmers are advised to use extreme caution and to never try to swim
directly back into shore against a rip current because you will become
quickly exhausted. If you become caught in a rip current, you
should yell for help and remain calm. Do not exhaust yourself and
try to stay afloat while waiting for help. If you have to swim
out of a rip current, swim parallel to shore and then back to the beach
Beach-goers should use extreme caution if swimming in the ocean.
There have been six drownings this year in the Cape Hatteras National
Seashore, all associated with rip currents. And the National Park
Service and local rescue squads report there have been many rescues and
For local weather information, go to http://www.weather.gov/mhx/.
You can find the beach forecast, including the rip current forecast on
the Island Free Press home page -- at the top right. Click on the
icon with the beach umbrella.