Soundside surge, tropical storm winds possible from Michael

By on October 10, 2018

Michael was over south Georgia Wednesday night. (NOAA/STAR)

After plowing across the Florida Panhandle and into south Georgia, Hurricane Michael will sprint into North Carolina on Thursday with tropical storm force winds and heavy rain.

The storm’s center is forecast to pass inland of the Outer Banks before being carried by a cold front into the Atlantic Ocean Friday morning off  Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

While the highest rainfall totals are now predicted to be over central and western North Carolina, there remains a threat of soundside flooding from Avon northward as winds pick up from the south and west through Thursday.

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Conditions are expected to start deteriorating by midday Thursday, according to the National Weather Service office in Newport/Morehead City.

Michael made landfall around midday Wednesday at Mexico Beach, Fla. with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph, and had the third lowest barometric pressure, 919 mb, for a storm making landfall in the United States.

ABC News chief meterologist Ginger Zee offers a glimpse of where the eyewall came ashore:

The strongest winds are expected near the coast and areas adjacent to the sounds. Winds along the coast could gust from 50 to 60 mph, while inland areas could see gusts of 40 to 50 mph.

The latest prediction is that the current forecast track will bring southerly winds at near tropical storm strength that will transition to the southwest and then to the west as Michael moves rapidly.

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Based on the current forecast track, minor inundation of 1 to 3 feet above ground level will be possible with local amounts of 2 to 4 feet above ground on the sound side north of Buxton Thursday night and early Friday.

Forecasters say the predicted forward motion of the storm is expected to limit the amount of time for water to pile up along the soundside from Avon to Corolla.

They cautioned that a slight shift in the track could change which locations may see the most inundation.

Minor beach erosion and overwash will be possible along the beaches as well due to wave run up.

The threat of rip currents is already high and will remain elevated until well after the storm passes through.

Beachgoers should remain out of the ocean as conditions are dangerous for even the most experienced swimmers, due to both the rip current risk and dangerous shorebreak.

Dangerous marine conditions are also expected offshore, with seas of 10 to 20 feet.

Dare County Emergency Management encourages residents, visitors and business owners to take necessary steps now to secure property and ensure safety and preparedness.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued emergency orders so preparations can be made ahead of the storm, and activated 150 N.C. National Guard members to assist in the response.

Manteo High School has postponed homecoming activities to Saturday, including the football game versus Camden.

Currituck County Schools will release students one hour early and cancelled after school activities on Thursday.

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