Cold front brings rain, high winds

Published 6:40 pm Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Beaufort County residents can expect the rain and wind to continue into Friday as a strong cold front moves through eastern North Carolina.

According to meteorologist Shane Kearns, with the National Weather Service Newport/Morehead City, the greatest threat to Beaufort County is damaging wind gusts. Heavy rainfall and minor flooding is also associated with the system.

“Our office is currently monitoring a cold front that is expected to impact our area tomorrow and Friday. Current forecast models indicate the following for Beaufort County,” Chris Newkirk, chief of fire/emergency management for Beaufort County Emergency Services, wrote in an email.

“We are forecasted to receive 1 to 1 1/2 inches of rain, with the highest probabilities of showers and thunderstorms occurring between 6 a.m. Thursday through 6 a.m. Friday,” Newkirk said. “Winds will begin to increase Thursday morning, becoming sustained at 15 mph by noon. Winds will transition from south-southwest Thursday night to west-southwest by Friday morning and remain sustained between 15 and 25 mph through 5 p.m. Friday. Gusts of 30 to 35 mph are possible during this time.”

For comparison, during Hurricane Dorian in September 2019, Washington Warren Airfield experienced sustained winds of 32 mph with gusts of 47 mph.

Officials encourage property owners to secure loose items when high winds are expected.

The Outer Banks is forecasted for greater impact from the storm system affecting most of the South. Strong gale force winds — as high as 48 mph in Ocracoke and 47 mph in Morehead City — along with high seas and coastal flooding of 2 feet above ground level are expected for North Carolina’s barrier islands.

An update from the NWS also says the wind and rain could cause localized downed trees and power outages.

The storm is expected to clear out by sunrise Saturday.