Outer Banks under tropical storm warning ahead of Michael

By on October 10, 2018

Michael was heading our way overnight. (NOAA)

Tropical storm conditions are possible across the region starting Thursday evening as major Hurricane Michael will still be generating strong winds and heavy rain when it arrives here as a tropical storm after making landfall along the Florida Panhandle.

The storm’s center is forecast to stay farther west of the Pamlico Sound before entering the Atlantic Ocean Friday morning off Virginia Beach, but there remains a chance for flooding along the sounds and coastal rivers.

A tropical storm warning, storm surge watch and flash flood watch were issued Wednesday morning for all of Dare and Hyde counties.

Tropical storm force winds, especially in gusts, are expected across eastern North Carolina later Thursday afternoon through early Friday, according to the National Weather Service office in Newport/Morehead City.

The strongest winds are expected near the coast and areas adjacent to the sounds. Winds along the coast could gust from 50 to 70 mph, while inland areas could see gusts of 40 to 50 mph.

The latest prediction is that the current forecast track will bring southerly winds at near tropical storm strength that will transition to the southwest and then to the west as Michael moves rapidly across the region Thursday night into Friday morning.

Periods of heavy rain are expected through late Thursday night with 1 to 2 inches near the coast to 2 to 4 inches well inland, with locally higher amounts.

Based on the current forecast track, minor inundation of 1 to 3 feet above ground level will be possible with local amounts of 2 to 4 feet above ground on the sound side north of Cape Hatteras late Thursday night and early Friday.

Forecasters say the predicted forward motion of the storm is expected to limit the time that water will pile up along the soundside from Avon to Corolla.

The threat of rip currents is already high and will remain elevated until well after the storm passes through.

Beachgoers should remain out of the ocean as conditions are dangerous for even the most experienced swimmers, due to both the rip current risk and dangerous shorebreak.

Dangerous marine conditions are also expected offshore, with seas building to 10 to 20 feet.

Dare County Emergency Management encourages residents, visitors and business owners to take necessary steps now to secure property and ensure safety and preparedness.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has issued emergency orders so preparations can be made ahead of the storm, and activated 150 N.C. National Guard members to assist in the response.

Manteo High School has postponed homecoming activities to Saturday, including the football game versus Camden, due to the weather forecast.

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