I headed down to the Crystal Coast along with my golden Charley on Friday...for a couple of reasons. First of all...I wanted to see Salter Path at high tide with the rough conditions. Secondly...I wanted to see how Charley would fare in the 2 to 4 foot waves. He got rocked a little but stayed on his paws.
Fortunately the Crystal Coast is oriented west to east...so this stretch of beach didn't bear the brunt of a strong North-Northeast flow. In fact that wind is offshore..so the surf was reasonable. However further north on east facing beaches...a different story. Higher surf...and beach erosion...especially from Cape Hatteras northward was the rule. And minor over wash on Highway 12 was a definite possibility with this kind of flow.
I went to a pizza joint for a bite to eat...and the cashier was wondering why the winds were blowing so hard with blue skies. I was about to say "pressure gradient "...but he was busy... so I was on my way. But "pressure gradient" is exactly what it was. An unusually strong ridge of high pressure to the north and low pressure off the coast is a way to get nearly gale force winds with mostly sunny skies.
It looks like things will relax late tonight into Sunday and Monday..but another very strong high pressure system to the north and a developing coastal storm off our shores will cause for very windy conditions...with more beach erosion likely....dangerous pounding surf...and high rip currents. Once again it appears east and northeast facing will feel the full effects. There is likely to be over wash again on Highway 12. And this time we could be talking about gale force winds. It all depends on the strength and track of that storm developing offshore.