Tropical Storm Arthur as viewed by GOES16 off the North Carolina coast.
Though the center of Tropical Storm Arthur was forecast to move out to sea Monday afternoon, tropical storm-force wind gusts were expected to continue along the Outer Banks throughout the day, leading to downed trees and widely scattered power outages.
The National Weather Service Newport/Morehead City officials said during an update Monday that the storm with winds up to about 50 mph was about 50 miles east-northeast of Buxton, or about 130 miles east-northeast of Morehead City, and moving northeast at 16 miles per hour,
The winds are expected to shift northwest Monday afternoon, causing water levels to rise along the soundside Outer Banks, especially south of Rodanthe, with minor inundation possible for low-lying areas. Overwash of dunes and flooding of properties and roadways could also occur where dune structures are weak, mostly north of Cape Lookout.
Mike Sprayberry, director of N.C. Emergency Management, explained Monday afternoon during a media briefing that the storm had passed just offshore of Cape Hatteras. Despite gusty and rainy conditions lingering in coastal counties, power outages were limited. County officials along the coast had not requested state assistance, he said.
Highway overwash was reported along N.C. 12 in Dare County and U.S. 17 in Craven County, forcing the roads to be closed for a short time because of standing water.
“People in the eastern part of our state should remain cautious, especially while driving in areas where water may collect on roads. (Monday) is not the day to take risks at the beach or in the surf. Tropical Storm Arthur is expected to continue to move away from our coast and conditions will improve, but heavy surf and dangerous rip currents will remain a threat for a couple of more days. So beachgoers need to be extremely careful,” he said.
Sprayberry also reminded listeners to remain aware of conditions as a separate system brings several inches of rain to North Carolina over the coming days.
Gov. Roy Cooper said during the briefing that Tropical Storm Arthur was a reminder that hurricane season is less than two weeks away.
“We hope and pray that we don’t get a hurricane this season but know that our emergency management team is working with local authorities to be ready in case it does happen, and also to be ready in a way that’s different from usual because of being in the midst of COVID-19,” Cooper said.