12-foot surge expected in Washington

Published 11:59 pm Thursday, September 13, 2018

  • Washington is at the upper end of the storm surge predicted for eastern North Carolina’s inland waterways, according to Glen Barnes, a National Weather Service meteorologist based in Newport.

“It’s largely a result of the storm having such a large wind field and the wind is going to be very persistent over the next 24 to 36 hours,” Barnes said. “Because the winds are oriented almost directly up the river, we are looking at storm surge values as high as 12 feet.”

He said Belhaven is expected to get 6 to 9 feet of water above ground, but Washington can expect the full 12.

Hurricane Florence is located less than 60 miles southeast of Cape Lookout, but storm is moving so slowly that there will be no rapid changes in weather. Instead, Barnes said, Beaufort County residents can expect to see a gradual intensification of rain and wind.

“Right now, it looks like there’s light to moderate rainfall, but we are expecting the heavier rain bands to start to work in this evening,” he said. “So far, generally in Washington, we’ve seen winds in the 30-40 mph range. We should see those pick up. Timing-wise, we expect the strongest winds to move through Washington from early Friday morning to Friday afternoon.”

Just as the wind and rain will gradually increase, they will also gradually decrease.

Forty to 50 mph winds, with higher gusts, can be expected early Friday morning through midday, Barnes said.

“I guess the good thing is the maximum winds have decreased somewhat, but the storm is moving very slowly,” he said, adding that because of the storm’s slow pace, Beaufort County can expect to see rain and wind through Saturday night.

“Beyond that, the storm should move to the west,” Barnes said.

At 11:39 p.m. the flood gauge in Washington read 6.58 feet; 4.5 feet is flood stage.