Stormy surf on Ocracoke Island. Photo by Peter Vankevich

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By Peter Vankevich

Tropical Storm Claudette weakened overnight to a tropical depression as it moved overland from the Gulf of Mexico. It is heading to the Outer Banks and the National Weather Service has issued a Tropical Storm WARNING for the coast from Little River Inlet to Duck, including Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds.

All Hyde County Schools announced today that all schools will be closed tomorrow (Monday, June 21), including the 21st Century Program and the Central Office.

There is a possibility that it could be upgraded again to the tropical storm when it hits warm water off the Outer Banks on Monday and will move out to sea towards the Canadian Maritime provinces and Newfoundland.

The greatest threats for the Outer Banks will be heavy rain with the potential for flash flooding, isolated tornadoes and severe thunderstorms, and minor coastal flooding.

Winds of 15 to 25 mph and gusts up to 35 and possibly higher are expected. A localized storm surge is also possible, with sound side storm surge of one to three feet possible from early Monday to Monday afternoon.

This is the third named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, bringing five to ten inches of rain across the Mississippi Delta and Gulf Coast and tornadoes to portions of Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi on Saturday.

In late May, a subtropical storm named Ana developed northeast of Bermuda, becoming the first named storm of the current hurricane season. This is the seventh year in a row that a named storm developed in the Atlantic before the official start of the season on June 1. Ana was followed by Bill, which formed hundreds of miles off the coast of North Carolina and remained at sea.

Last year had the highest number of storms that originated in the Atlantic Basin on record with 30 named storms, surpassing the 28 from 2005. It was also the second-highest number of hurricanes on record. The Atlantic Basin is the area encompassing the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecast that there would be 13 to 20 named storms this year, six to 10 would be hurricanes, and three to five major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher in the Atlantic.

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