The Latest: Tropical systems not expected to have big impact

Published 4:46 pm Monday, August 29, 2016

Three tropical systems have formed in the Atlantic, creating a tropical storm watch in effect from Cape Lookout to Oregon Inlet. None of the storms, however, are projected to have a major effect Beaufort County, according to forecasters with the National Weather Service.

Hurricane Gaston, located 575 miles east/southeast of Bermuda and moving northwest at 5 mph as of 11 p.m. on Sunday, is expected to slow down and turn north, with no current warnings or watches issued for the Eastern Seaboard.

According to Jim Merrell, lead forecaster and meteorologist with the NWS in Newport, Gaston could increase swells and produce a higher threat for rip currents along the coast.

Due to Tropical Depression No. 8, a tropical storm warning is in effect from Cape Lookout to Oregon Inlet, which includes outer parts of Carteret, Dare and Hyde counties. Marine waters out to 20 nautical miles will be affected by tropical storm-force winds.

Depression No. 8 was located about 405 mph southeast of Cape Hatteras and was moving west at 9 mph as of around noon Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center. As of 8 a.m. Tuesday, the storm remained a depression, moving northwest at 5 mph with maximum sustained winds at 35 mph. The Outer Banks remains under a tropical storm warning.

In Beaufort County, the projected forecast includes heavy rains and thunderstorms, although Emergency Services Director John Pack said Tuesday forecasts predicted less rainfall as previously thought.

Another system, Tropical Depression No. 9, has left projections for the area unclear. The depression developed in the Florida Straits and was located 60 miles south of Key West, Florida, moving west at about 9 mph as of 6:30 p.m. Sunday. As of 5 a.m. Tuesday, the storm was still traveling west at 7 mph with maximum sustained winds at 35 mph.

“At this time, it’s possible it could affect eastern North Carolina,” Merrell said. “We can’t rule it out. Residents should keep up with the latest forecast and advisory information related to eastern North Carolina.”

N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory issued a statement asking coastal residents to watch the weather as Tropical Depression No. 8 approaches. Though the storm isn’t expected to be a major threat, McCrory cautioned people to remain alert and discuss emergency plans, as well as have supply kits updated and available.

Boaters in the area should also keep a watch on issued advisories. McCotter’s Marina in Washington is not expecting any major impact from storms but is keeping a watch on the systems and has an active hurricane plan in place it reviews with its membership each spring, according to Jessica Cox, office assistant at the marina.

Cox said in the event of a system projected for major impact, the owner makes a decision to alert its members to take necessary precautions and measures.

“We closely track the weather anytime a storm begins to form that’s heading our way,” Cox said. “We have our owners make decision and advise us. Sometimes a storm seems severe and it’s not, but we always prepare for the worst. We encourage people to take precautions.”