By Peter Vankevich
Tropical Storm Isaias is already impacting the Outer Banks, which is under a tropical storm watch with a serious rip current threat. People should stay out of the water.
Eastern North Carolina also is under a tornado threat, especially Monday night. Tornadoes can occur well ahead and away from storm center. People are urged to have multiple ways to receive warnings, including on their cell phones.
Ferry service is suspended until officials determine it is safe to resume. Both Ocracoke and Hatteras islands went into mandatory evacuation over the last two days, but Dare County officials decided not to evacuate the Nags Head, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills areas.
Hyde County Emergency Services (EMS) is suspended.
As of 5 a.m. today, the center of Isaias was about 115 miles east southeast of Jacksonville, Florida, with top sustained winds of 70 mph. Models show landfall occurring near the Carolinas border.
All facilities at Cape Hatteras National Seashore are closed. To view the most up-to-date information and conditions for Cape Hatteras National Seashore, go to: https://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/operational-status-report.htm.
The track is expected to stay inland heading north/northeastward, bringing high winds and rain as far west as the Triangle. The highest sustained maximum winds up to 60 mph will be the path from Jacksonville to Plymouth.
There is the possibility that this storm could be upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane as it passes over water, but Erik Haden, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service Forecast office in Newport/Morehead City, stressed in a webinar this morning not to get hung up on the storm category ratings. There is little difference with impact between a low Category 1 hurricane and tropical storm-force winds, which range from 39 to 73 mph. Storm surge, rainfall amounts and length of the storm remaining in the area are important factors that can determine the impact of the storm.
Locally, Ocracoke should expect maximum sustained winds of 45 mph and gusts up to 58 mph according to the National Weather Service this morning. Ocracoke and Hatteras islands are under a storm surge watch of 2 to 4 feet and overwash is expected that could block NC 12.
“We should anticipate impacts on Hatteras Island to include potential for ocean overwash of N.C. 12, with surge level up to three feet above ground possible,” said Dare County Emergency Management Director Drew Pearson.
Only about one inch of rain on the Outer Banks is expected with much more inland.
The storm should move out of the state by later Tuesday afternoon and is expected to impact states from Virginia to Maine.
Both Ocracoke and Hatteras islands went into mandatory evacuation over the past two days but Dare County officials decided not to evacuate the Nags Head, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills areas.