Distant storm Sandy delivering 50 mph wind gusts
At 5 a.m. Sunday, the storm was still rated a hurricane with 75 mph top sustained winds, and was moving north-northeast at 13 miles per hours. It was 260 miles south-sputheast of Cape Hatteras.
Stormy conditions have already reached northeastern North Carolina because of the size of the storm. Tropical storm force winds extend 520 miles from its center, the National Hurricane Center says.
Weather conditions went downhill along the Outer Banks overnight as Hurricane Sandy approaches from the south. Heavier rain, however, is funneling along a path just east of I-95 near Rocky Mount and Greenville.
At 5:12 a.m., the Duck pier recorded a wind gust of 47 knots, which is about 54 mph. The top gust in Manteo was 53 mph at 4:35 a.m. as sustained winds were running between 32 and 38 mph just before daybreak.
Sandy is forecast to pass about 150 miles offshore late Sunday and early Monday, but tropical storm force winds now extend up to 520 miles from the center, the National Hurricane Center said in its 5 p.m. update today.
Dare County Emergency Management urged residents and visitors to finish preparing by securing outdoor items such as deck furniture and parking cars and trucks on high ground.
“Hurricane Sandy continues to track well offshore, however the storm is expected to produce long periods of 35-55 mph sustained winds with gusts of 50 to 70 mph,” emergency management said in a statement.
“Storm winds could damage buildings, cause isolated power outages, down trees and result in water and sand accumulation on roadways.”
The Carolina coast up to Duck is under a tropical storm warning. Ferry service from Hatteras to Ocracoke has been suspended. The state Department of Transportation has positioned more equipment on Hatteras Island to try to keep N.C. 12 clear.
As Sandy interacts with two weather systems, it is expected to deliver up to 7 inches of rain along the coast over the next few days before hooking onshore somewhere between Norfolk and New England.
On Friday, Gov. Beverly Perdue declared a state of emergency for 38 counties, including Dare, Hyde and Currituck. Her executive order allows the state to seek federal help.“Interests are reminded not to focus on the exact track of this system since significant impacts will extend well away from the location of the center,” the hurricane center said.
The storm was a minimal hurricane with 75 mph top sustained winds 5 p.m. today and was moving slowly north 345 miles south of Cape Hatteras.
Later Sunday, winds will shift to the west-southwest, creating the threat of sound-side flooding of as much as 3 to 5 feet, the emergency management statement said.
The National Weather Service office in Morehead City said breaking waves would be 8 to 12 feet, with the highest on Sunday.
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