Hatteras and Ocracoke islands had a rocking and rolling Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning as heavy thunderstorms ahead of a powerful cold front brought south winds that gusted to 50 to 60 mph and two to three-plus inches of rain.
One of the highest winds gust was reported on Ocracoke – 67 mph.
Laura Pagano, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Newport, N.C., said that the wind gust was reported at about the time the power went out on Ocracoke – shortly after midnight.
At first, a waterspout or tornado was suspected of damaging two power poles north of the Pony Pens, but Pagano said that Tideland personnel told the Weather Service that they couldn’t be sure of that, and there apparently was no other damage in the area.
Pagano said the poles may have been damaged by straight-line winds and that the Weather Service was not going to do a storm survey.
Power was restored on Ocracoke at 9:05 a.m.
The Weather Service did confirm an EF2 tornado at Atlantic Beach, which was an EF1 when it hit Morehead City.
The islands were under a long list of watches, warnings, and advisories last night – wind advisory, high surf advisory, coastal flood advisory, and a tornado watch.
However, Highway 12 is open with apparently only standing rainwater on the highway. The newly repaired dune just east of Hatteras village kept the ocean back despite the strong south winds and high seas.
Ferries to and from Ocracoke from the mainland and Hatteras are running on a normal schedule.
Most watches and warnings and advisories are now cancelled.
The forecast for Thanksgiving Day is sunny, windy, and cold – with high temperatures only in the 40s.