A high risk of rip currents continues along the Outer Banks on Thursday, while a Coastal Flood Warning goes into effect starting at 4:00 p.m., with ocean overwash and impacts to N.C. Highway 12 possible due to distant Hurricane Lee.
While Hurricane Lee is expected to remain well offshore, the Outer Banks may experience a range of coastal hazards from the storm, including 2 to 4 feet of flooding along the oceanside of Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands, especially in areas where the dunes are compromised.
Hatteras Island could also see breaking waves of 10 to 15 feet in the surf zone, and significant beach erosion should be expected.
Oceanside flooding could lead to travel impacts along vulnerable sections of N.C. Highway 12, particularly during the next few high tide cycles. Oceanfront locations where there are no protective dunes in place – like the northern end of Rodanthe and parts of Buxton and northern Hatteras village – could become inundated with ocean water. The next high tide is approximately 7:50 p.m. on Thursday.
There are no soundside impacts from Hurricane Lee expected at this time along the Outer Banks.
As of 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, N.C. Highway 12 was open and passable throughout, although minor overwash was reported on northern Ocracoke Island on Thursday morning. Residents and visitors in vulnerable areas should take action to protect property and relocate vehicles as needed before coastal flooding becomes a concern.
Ocean conditions will continue to worsen, keeping the ocean unsafe for swimming into the weekend.
The public should check surf and swimming conditions before heading to the beach, and the daily beach forecast at www.weather.gov/beach/mhx includes rip current risk levels, and information about other hazards along the shoreline. In addition, the public can visit Dare County’s Love The Beach, Respect The Ocean website for current rip current risks and additional info.
Visitors are also encouraged to sign up for text alerts from Dare County, ocean rescue agencies, and the National Weather Service by texting “OBXBeachConditions” to 77295.