Fiona now a category 3 storm; Tropical Depression #9 forms
Fiona is racing northward towards Nova Scotia
GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - As of the 5 a.m. advisory, Hurricane Fiona was downgraded to Category 3 status with winds of 125 mph. Fiona is the strongest hurricane of the season thus far and the forecast track has remained consistent over the past several days. The center of Fiona will make its closest pass to our coast over the next 12 hours, coming within about 500 miles of Cape Lookout. This will lead to high surf, coastal flooding of about 1 to 2 feet, and high rip current threats for all area beaches from now extending through the weekend. We will avoid all direct impacts from Fiona. Bermuda will experience the worst of Fiona as the hurricane’s strongest winds will batter the island early Friday morning. Once Fiona moves north of Bermuda Friday, it will come into contact with a cold front that will help erode Fiona’s structure.
A Coastal Flood Warning is in effect for the Outer Banks from the Oregon Inlet southward to Ocracoke. Water level rises of 2-3 feet are likely. The greatest risk of flooding will come around high tide (7am & 7pm).
A Coastal Flood Advisory will be in effect for areas south of Ocracoke to Cape Lookout as well as areas north of the Oregon Inlet. Water level rises of 1-2 feet are likely in these areas, again with the greatest flood risk coming around high tide.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore recommends that visitors avoid the beach along an area extending from Hatteras to Rodanthe this Thursday and Friday. The area to avoid is a two-mile stretch of beach between the north end of Rodanthe and South Shore Drive. The danger of beach erosion and ocean overwash is expected to put multiple homes in danger.
Tropical Depression #9 has formed in the eastern Caribbean Sea. The storm is expected to become Tropical Storm Hermine by late Friday or early Saturday. The storm’s track heads westward through Saturday before turning more to the northwest on Sunday. The current forecast has the storm strengthening in a hurricane as it moves into the eastern Gulf of Mexico early next week. Residents from the Florida Keys to New Orleans will be keeping a very close eye on the storm over the coming days. It’s too early to predict what impacts the storm may have on eastern North Carolina. We’ll be watching it very closely and detailing any potential impacts for our area as the track becomes more certain over the coming days.
As of the 5 a.m. Thursday advisory, Tropical Storm Gaston is still a moderate tropical storm with winds holding at 60 mph. Gaston’s satellite presentation has not improved over the past few hours and the storm is in fact undergoing extratropical transition. This means that the system is transitioning from a tropical storm to a low pressure system. Gaston will remain over the open seas of the Atlantic well away from Eastern NC over the next 5 days.
Another system is expected to form over the Caribbean Sea over the next couple of days. The named storm will be Hermine. This is pronounced her-MEEN. This system could impact the United States late next week.
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