Unpredictable Sandy likely to stir up trouble here

By on October 25, 2012

(NOAA satellite image)

With its exact track still hazy, Hurricane Sandy at the very least will generate coastal storm conditions along the Outer Banks over the weekend with gusty wind and several inches of rain, forecasters say.

On Thursday, the scenario for Sandy called for a widening storm with 75 to 80 mph top winds passing off the North Carolina coast, then turning into the northeastern U.S.

At 5 p.m., the storm was maintaining its strength over the Bahamas, registering 105 mph maximum sustained winds and an expanding wind field, the National Hurricane Center reported.

Computer models have consistently showed the storm heading north for the next day or two, but they differ in forecasting its next move.

Sandy will probably be a hybrid of a nor’easter and a tropical system with high winds spreading hundreds of miles away rather than clustering close to its center.

(NOAA/National Hurricane Center)

Dare County Emergency Management said the forecast calls for northeasterly gale force winds early Saturday night through Sunday evening. Sustained winds are likely to be 45 mph with gusts of 60 mph during the period.

Along with the wind, waves and storm surge, astronomical high tides will add to beach erosion problems.

“Some minor structural damage could occur; however, the most threatening aspect of the storm will be ocean overwash and potential loss of highway along N.C. 12 south of Oregon Inlet on Hatteras Island,” emergency management said in a statement.

As the storm passes and winds shift to the northwest, soundside flooding is also a threat, forecasters said.

Dare County plans to activate its emergency operations center Saturday.

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