Confidence is growing that a widespread severe weather outbreak will occur late today and tonight, per a Friday morning update from the National Weather Service Newport / Morehead City Office.
An upgrade to a “Moderate” threat for severe storms has been issued for parts of Eastern N.C., especially for inland areas. This means that widespread severe thunderstorms are likely, and damaging winds to 55-75 mph are the main threat, but isolated tornadoes are also a possibility. On the Outer Banks, wind gusts are forecast to reach up to 59 mph, particularly on southern Hatteras Island and Ocracoke Island.
A high wind watch and a gale watch was issued for the Outer Banks on Thursday morning in anticipation of the severe weather forecast for Friday. Dangerous seas up to 20 feet are also expected, with the worst conditions over the coastal waters from Oregon Inlet to Cape Lookout.
There is a chance for minor coastal flooding as well, particularly north of Oregon Inlet through Saturday morning.
1.5 to 2 inches of rain is also forecast for the islands during the storm, and isolated tornadoes are possible along the eastern portion of the state.
For more information on the local forecast, visit www.weather.gov/mhx for weather information, or the National Weather Service office in Newport / Morehead City’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NWSMoreheadCity/.