Update: Storm watch posted, 50-plus winds likely
Dare County Emergency Management recommended that homeowners tie down or take in loose items such as trash cans and lawn furniture and to check emergency supplies in case power, water and transportation are lost with the passage of Hurricane Sandy.
The hurricane center’s forecast track shifted the storm slightly to the west, which puts the Outer Banks closer to the envelope of tropical storm force winds.
“Conditions will begin to deteriorate Saturday afternoon and worsen over the weekend, through Monday,” emergency management said in a statement.
“Strong winds will lead to very rough surf, dangerous rip currents, ocean overwash and moderate coastal flooding both on the ocean and sound. Periods of heavy rain will also occur with as much as 5 inches possible along the coast.”
Sandy is forecast to pass the Outer Banks at sea late Sunday, then hook onshore between the Chesapeake Bay and Long Island, N.Y. The Outer Banks, however, is still within the left side of the projected path.
The National Weather Service office in Morehead City said breaking waves would be 8 to 12 feet, with the highest on Sunday. Soundside flooding could be 3 to 5 feet above ground Sunday through Monday.
Coast areas should prepare for sustained winds of 30 to 40 mph with gusts of 50 to 60 mph, the weather service said, and inland, sustained winds of 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 35 mph.
The storm weakened somewhat overnight, the hurricane center reported, but it is likely to strengthen again before making landfall. The rain and wind field were expanding, meaning the storm’s effects will be felt hundreds of miles from the center.
At 11 a.m. Friday, maximum sustained winds were 80 mph, on the lower end of Category 1 strength. The storm’s center was 460 miles south-southeast of Charleston, S.C., moving northwest at 6 mph.
As the storm passes and winds shift to the northwest, soundside flooding is also a threat, forecasters said.
The tropical storm watch extended north to Oregon Inlet and included the Pamlico Sound.
Rain and wind could last up to 30 hours, emergency management said.
“Strong beach erosion and road overwash will be a major concern along NC 12 from Kitty Hawk to Buxton,” the statement said.
“Some minor structural damage could occur; however, the most threatening aspect of the storm will be ocean overwash and potential loss of highway along NC 12 south of Oregon Inlet on Hatteras Island.
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