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Another round of coastal flooding and beach erosion forecast on Outer Banks this week

A storm forming off the southeastern United States will bring increasingly dangerous conditions to the Outer Banks starting Wednesday, including flooding and beach erosion, according to the National Weather Service.

The warning includes Ocracoke Island, which is still recovering from the devastating floods brought on by Hurricane Dorian last month.

“Rough surf, dangerous rip currents, beach erosion, ocean overwash and coastal flooding will be possible beginning late Wednesday and continuing into early this weekend,” according to the National Weather Service office based out of Morehead City.

“Minor sound side flooding will be possible for areas adjacent to the Southern Pamlico Sound, including the sound side of Southern Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands. All coastal impacts will likely be prolonged for several days.”

Forecasters say beaches “north of Cape Hatteras will be most vulnerable to erosion and overwash, though Cape Hatteras to Cape Lookout will also be a concern.” The Downeast area of Carteret County will also see minor coastal flooding late in the week, officials said.

The worsening conditions are linked to a system of showers and thunderstorms “between the southeastern coast of the United States and Bermuda,” according to the National Hurricane Center.

The system of low pressure is expected to linger through the later part of the week and possibly into the early weekend, experts predict.

“There is still quite a bit of uncertainty in track/strength of this low, though guidance continues to keep the westward trend towards the East Coast,” the NWS said Tuesday.

The system could strengthen later in the week by developing subtropical storm characteristics, experts say. It has a 10 percent chance of becoming a tropical storm in the next 48 hours and a 30 percent chance in the next five days, officials said.

“Regardless of development, this system is expected to bring strong winds, coastal flooding, and rough surf to portions of the mid- Atlantic and northeastern United States coasts through late week,” the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday.

Ocracoke Island off North Carolina has spent the past month trying to clean up after Hurricane Dorian sent water crashing ashore from the Pamlico Sound. The storm is also blamed for creating dozens of new inlets at Cape Lookout National Seashore and damaging historic sites.

On Cedar Island, the flooding is blamed for killing 28 wild horses, which were swept off the island by “an 8-foot surge in water in just under an hour,” the Charlotte Observer reported last month.

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Mark Price has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1991, covering beats including schools, crime, immigration, the LGBTQ issues, homelessness and nonprofits. He graduated from the University of Memphis with majors in journalism and art history, and a minor in geology.
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