Tropical Storm Warning & Storm Surge Watch in Effect for Dare County
In the midst of nature’s unpredictable dance, the tranquility of Dare County, North Carolina, is being disrupted. The National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, has sounded the alarm by issuing a Tropical Storm Warning and a Storm Surge Watch for Dare County. This cautionary stance is in response to the looming threat posed by an area of low pressure, expected to take shape off the southeastern coast of the United States on Thursday, September 21, 2023.
The Birth of Potential Tropical Cyclone Sixteen
The meteorological chessboard is in motion as Potential Tropical Cyclone Sixteen emerges on the scene. This system, currently recognized as POTENTIAL TROPICAL CYCLONE SIXTEEN by the National Hurricane Center, has the potential to transform into Tropical Storm Ophelia. Brace yourselves, as this development is forecasted to usher in a barrage of natural forces, including tropical storm-force winds, storm surge, heavy rain, and high surf. These elements are expected to descend upon Dare County starting Friday, September 22, 2023, and continuing throughout the weekend.
Decoding the Warnings
To comprehend the gravity of the situation, it’s essential to decipher the language of warnings. A Tropical Storm Warning is a red flag indicating that tropical storm conditions, characterized by sustained winds of 39 mph to 73 mph, are imminent within 36 hours or less. Meanwhile, a Storm Surge Watch signals the potential for life-threatening inundation of water within 48 hours.
High Surf Advisory and Its Timeline
Adding to the complexity, a High Surf Advisory, issued by the National Weather Service office in Newport/Morehead City, N.C. at 3:50 a.m. today (Thursday, September 21, 2023), will remain in effect until 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 23, 2023. Residents and visitors across Dare County should brace themselves for the following impacts:
- Rip Currents and Towering Waves: Life-threatening rip currents and large surf with wave heights of 7-10 feet in the surf zone will create perilous conditions along all Dare County beaches, commencing on Thursday, September 21, 2023, and persisting through the weekend.
- Storm Surge Inundation: Prepare for the possibility of 2-4 feet of above-ground storm surge inundation along the oceanfront and soundside. The specific locations and impacts will depend on wind strength and direction. With the current forecast, expect rising water levels in all vulnerable locations susceptible to wind-driven flood impacts. For detailed timing, consult the National Weather Service Newport/Morehead City, N.C. website, where you can enter your location in the upper left corner and review the wind direction and intensity on the “Hourly Weather Forecast” under “Additional Resources.”
- Winds on the Horizon: Anticipate increasing winds peaking at 45-55 mph with gusts of up to 70 mph. These gusty conditions are slated to commence on Friday, September 22, 2023, and persist until the afternoon of Saturday, September 23, 2023. Secure loose property promptly to prevent it from becoming a projectile hazard.
- Flooding Rain and Travel Disruptions: Rainfall totaling 3-6 inches, with locally higher amounts, is on the forecast. This could trigger flash flooding and standing water on roadways, impacting travel.
- Tornado Activity: Be vigilant, as potential tornado activity is also on the radar. Ensure you have multiple ways to receive weather alerts, especially during the night.
Impact on Transportation
The ripple effects of this weather phenomenon will extend to transportation. Travel on N.C. Highway 12 may be hampered by ocean overwash at vulnerable locations, particularly during high tide. Secondary roads throughout Dare County that commonly flood during wind-driven events may also become impassable and perilous. Hence, it’s prudent to take immediate steps to safeguard vehicles and property parked or stored in areas susceptible to wind-driven flooding countywide. For those in oceanfront homes without an existing dune structure, relocation is strongly advised.
A Plea for Caution
Dare County Emergency Management has a clear message for residents and visitors alike: exercise extreme caution when visiting Dare County beaches. The ocean’s current conditions have rendered ocean swimming unsafe, even for the most experienced swimmers. Do not risk your life, or the lives of local ocean rescue personnel, by venturing into treacherous waters.
Stay Informed Tropical Storm
For the latest information on this impending storm and how it unfolds, please visit the following websites: