Florence’s top wind speeds have lowered as the storm approaches the Carolina coast, but the forecasted impacts for Hatteras and Ocracoke islands remain the same, per the Thursday morning update from the National Weather Service (NWS) Newport / Morehead City update.
Oceanside flooding was reported at several locations on Hatteras Island as of 8 a.m. on Thursday, particularly on Pea Island and near the S-Curves just north of Rodanthe. As of 8:30 a.m. on Thursday morning, access to the Outer Banks is restricted to emergency personnel only.
Florence’s current maximum sustained winds are near 110 mph with higher gusts. Little change in strength is expected before the center reaches the coast, with weakening expected after the center moves inland. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles.
Tropical storm force winds are forecast to begin on Thursday morning for Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. Per Thursday morning’s update, Hatteras and Ocracoke islands will see maximum sustained winds of 53-67 mph, and wind gusts in the 67-85 mph range, with higher winds occurring in southern Hatteras Island and Ocracoke.
Rainfall and storm surge are still major concerns for the islands, and rainfall totals up to 6-8 inches are possible in southern Hatteras Island and Ocracoke. 4 to 6 feet of storm surge is forecast from Ocracoke to the tri-villages region, and 2-4 feet of storm surge is forecast from the tri-villages to the Virginia / North Carolina border.
The Dare County Emergency Operations Center is activated and can be reached at 252.475.5655. The call center will reopen at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday.
To receive notifications directly from Dare County Emergency Management, visit www.darenc.com/emergencyalerts and follow @DareCountyEM on Twitter.
For more information on Florence’s local impacts, visit www.weather.gov/mhx for weather forecast info, or the National Weather Service office in Newport / Morehead City’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/NWSMoreheadCity/.