Hurricane Michael: Tropical storm watch for the Outer Banks

By on October 9, 2018

The storm was nearing the Gulf Coast Tuesday night.  (NOAA)

A tropical storm watch went up for the Outer Banks up to Duck this evening for the possibility that Hurricane Michael will still be generating strong winds and heavy rain when it arrives here at the end of the week.

At 8 p.m., the storm was rated as a major hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph as it moved north toward the panhandle of Florida.

The storm’s center is forecast to stay just west of the Pamlico Sound before entering the Atlantic Ocean Friday morning off the northern beaches, which could mean minor to moderate flooding along the sounds and coastal rivers.

But forecasters at the National Weather Service in Newport/Morehead City said Tuesday it was still too early to provide specifics on how much the water will rise because of uncertainty about the exact path the storm will take beyond Wednesday.

Gusty winds and rainfall of up to 4 inches are possible starting Thursday afternoon and lasting through Friday, and there will be a small threat of tornadoes. Tropical storm force winds are 39 mph or higher.

A major concern is for areas in mainland Hyde County, then the rest of central and southern coastal N.C. that were saturated by the record flooding of Hurricane Florence. Sustained winds of 40 to 50 mph could topple trees due to weakened root structures.

A high risk of rip currents continues for all area beaches due to swells that continue to roll onshore from Tropical Storm Leslie in the eastern Atlantic, and swimmers are advised to stay out of the ocean again today.

Once Michael arrives in North Carolina, a strong cold front is forecast to pick the storm up and throw it out to sea.

That will leave behind our first true taste of fall weather with sunny skies and highs around 70 over the weekend.

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