Tropical Storm Maria expected to bring storm surge, flooding to NC coast

Mostly sunny skies with afternoon temperatures in the upper 80s.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Outer Banks is feeling the effects of Tropical Storm Maria as the storm moves along the North Carolina Coast.

A storm surge warning is issued for areas between Ocracoke and Cape Hatteras. A tropical storm warning is issued for Bogue Inlet to the North Carolina-Virginia border, in addition to Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

According to the National Hurricane Center's 2 a.m. update Wednesday, Maria is now 145 miles east of Cape Hatteras with sustained winds of 70 mph. Meteorologists expect gusty winds and storm surge to be the biggest impacts for the Outer Banks this week. 

First Warn Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich said storm surge in the Outer Banks may be as high as two to four feet, with 10 to 20 feet waves.

Panovich said every high tide in the next 24 hours will be higher than the previous one and the water will not have time to subside.

"The oceanside will get clobbered first," Panovich said. "And then the wind swings around to the northwest and the soundside flooding will become an issue. Both sides of the Outer Banks will get some flooding out of this."

Along the beach in Kill Devil Hills, waves up to 30 feet tall were seen Tuesday morning. Wind gusts were around 30 mph in the area. Maria will be the third named storm to impact the Carolina coast in the last three weeks. 

Up to three feet of storm surge is possible in the southern areas of the Pamlico Sound, including Morehead City and Atlantic Beach. 

"Taking a little bit of a turn toward the coastal communities," Sprinkle said. "Eventually, it makes a pretty sharp turn into the Atlantic Ocean."

Stay with WCNC.com as we continue to track Maria and bring you the latest forecast.

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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