Severe weather threat remains for tonight, weekend travel issues on N.C. 12 possible

A powerful cold front crossing the southeastern U.S. that has already spawned numerous damaging tornadoes in the Deep South is expected to bring severe weather to eastern N.C. through tonight, followed by strong northerly winds that could cause multiple issues along the Outer Banks.

Dare County Emergency Management advised residents and visitors to closely monitor the weather over the few days, especially for coastal flooding, possible ocean overwash, beach erosion and hazardous marine conditions beginning Friday and lasting throughout the weekend.

“With the severe weather threat, everyone should ensure they have multiple ways to receive weather watches and warnings issued by the National Weather Service,” said Dare County Emergency Management Director Drew Pearson.

Along with OBX Today, we’ll have updates throughout the duration on Beach 104Big 94.5 WCMS99.1 The Sound and News Talk 92.3 WZPR.

A NOAA Weather Radio, with fresh batteries, and a mobile device with alerts turned on are also recommended.

To receive the latest emergency alerts issued by Dare County, visit www.DareNC.com/Alerts to sign up for OBXAlerts for instant text and email notifications. Select the National Weather Service-issued “WARNINGS” and “WATCHES” list to receive these weather service products via OBXAlerts.

“To ensure you are able to take action when warnings are issued, keep your mobile device plugged in with the volume up and near your bed overnight,” Pearson said.

The severe weather could include thunderstorms, isolated tornadoes, damaging winds and large hail, with the strongest storms expected to affect the Outer Banks beginning around 6 p.m. on Thursday and lasting through the evening.

National Weather Service forecasters have lessened the chances of a widespread severe weather outbreak for the region, thanks to cooler than expected air temperatures and persistent clouds and fog this morning along coastal sections.

“The major change was to lower the threat level from moderate, 4 out of 5, to enhanced threat, level 3 out of 5, over our area,” said Erik Heden, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at NWS Newport/Morehead City.

“While the threat is not as widespread as before, now is not the time to let our guard down,” Heden said.  “Remember it only takes one storm to have a huge impact.  An enhanced threat still means that numerous severe storms are possible.”

After the front moves through the region on Friday, strong northerly winds with gusts of up to 45-50 mph are expected that have the potential to cause damage to buildings and trees, as well as potential power outages.

These strong winds could also lead to minor to moderate coastal flooding, with one to three feet of above-ground inundation for soundside portions of the Outer Banks and tidal tributaries possible, as well as ocean overwash across parts of the northern Outer Banks.

The National Weather Service has issued a coastal flood watch that is in effect through 5 a.m. on Saturday. A wind advisory and gale warning will also be in effect starting Friday morning.

For the most up-to-date weather information on this severe weather outbreak, visit the National Weather Service at Newport/Morehead City at www.weather.gov/mhx. For updated information regarding road conditions on N.C. Highway 12, follow the North Carolina Department of Transportation on Facebook at www.facebook/ncdot, on Twitter @NCDOTNC12 or visit drivenc.gov.

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.