Hermine arrives; wind gust of 78 mph clocked in Duck

By on September 3, 2016

Avalon Pier Saturday morning during a break in the weather. (Rob Morris)

Rain was leaving a lot of standing water Friday. (Sam Walker)

Tropical Storm Hermine’s center rumbled into northeastern North Carolina just before dawn today with heavy rain and wind.

At 4:30 a.m., the Duck Research Pier clocked a gust of 60 mph. Area buoys were measuring wave heights averaging around about 12 feet. At Oregon Inlet, the peak height was 14 feet at 5:30 a.m.

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Downed trees and branches were reported throughout the area. U.S. 158 was blocked earlier this morning by a tree near Powells Point.

A trailer was blown onto the railing of the Alligator River Bridge, where a wind gust of 116 mph was reported, Tyrrell County Sheriff Darryl Liverman said. A few hours later, a tractor-trailer was blown onto the railing and the river was killed.

Sand covered N.C. 12 in Kitty Hawk, and some roads had standing water but were passable.

At 11 a.m., the storm had strengthened, with maximim sustained winds of 65 mph as it heaed over water again, up from from the 50 mph estimated Friday night, according to the National Hurricane Center. It was 30 miles east-southeast of Duck and moving east-northeast at 15 mph.

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After high winds and rain at dawn, Jennette’s Pier showed a wind speed of 24 mph from the south at 6 a.m. In Manteo, the National Weather Service reported winds of just 7 mph near sunrise.

The lull lasted about 4 hours, then the wind picked up again from the north. At 11 a.m., the Duck pier was recording wind speeds 67 mph with a peak gust of 78 mph.

A tropical storm warning is still in effect, and flash-flood watches are posted for the region until noon today. Rip currents are also probable.

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Beach 104 and 94.5 WCMS staff meteorologist John Bernier has the latest on Hermine and what it may mean for the Outer Banks.

A dangerous shore break will be in the mix, with surf reaching 8 to 10 feet from Duck to Rodanthe and 9 to 11 feet from Rodanthe to Cape Hatteras. Seas offshore will peak at 15 to 20 feet.

Soundside flooding will be a threat when southeast winds shift around from the northwest and push water into the backside of the barrier islands.

Hermine was interacting with a cold front and becoming a hybrid system, but it still will have the impact of a tropical storm, according to the Hurricane Center.



After it passes the Outer Banks, it will be back over water and could even do a couple of loops while regaining strength. Wind speeds could climb back up to 70 mph.

There is concern that if Hermine slows and stalls off the Delmarva/New Jersey coast it will create lingering large swells from the northeast.

With waves and water levels elevated across the Outer Banks into mid-week, this may result in significant erosion through multiple high tide cycles, according to the weather office. The NWS office in Wakefield warned of storm surge on the Currituck Outer Banks of more than 5 feet.

Dare County urged caution, particularly in areas prone to flooding. Hatteras Island towns and N.C. 12 often flood in storms. N.C. 12 in Kitty Hawk is also vulnerable.

Conditions wil be similar to a winter nor’easter.


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