Entire NC coast braces for storm as high tides trigger flooding, officials warn of high winds, dangerous travel

North Carolina news

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WNCN) — As an intense storm is forecast to hit the North Carolina coast this weekend, weather forecasters are already reporting near-record high tides in the area and some travel has been disrupted.

Ferry service at the Outer Banks has already been shut down by high winds from the approaching storm. Saturday morning, authorities officially canceled some of its Ocracoke ferry routes citing high wind gusts.

The National Weather Service has warned gusts of 50 mph are possible at the Outer Banks with wind gusts over 30 mph expected in the Wilmington area.

Tides at Wrightsville Beach reached the 4th highest level on record Saturday morning at 7.75 feet, the National Weather Service reported.

“Sunday morning’s tide will be even higher, and may approach hurricane levels of inundation. Prepare for road closures, protect property from saltwater flooding!” forecasters said in a special message and predicted levels at 8.20 feet for Sunday.

A coastal flood warning for Wilmington advised that flooding could happen in downtown Wilmington this weekend.

Flooding 1 to 3 feet deep is possible on low-lying streets and driveways including Surf City, Carolina Beach and Ocean Isle Beach.

North Carolina DOT photo of NC 12 at the Outer Banks as high winds and tides are already causing issues Saturday.

“Additional locations may experience flooding during periods of heavy rainfall, high winds, or other factors,” forecasters said.

Minor street flooding was seen Saturday morning in coastal Carteret County, with levels about a foot above normal.

The Outer Banks are likely to see ocean overwash along highways and dune erosion is possible, officials said.

“Motorists should be aware that standing water, blown sand, ocean and sound over wash are all possible and likely along the section of N.C. 12 from Marc Basnight Bridge South to Hatteras and Ocracoke,” NC DOT officials warned.

Officials also warned of dangerous surf conditions and said people should stay out of the surf zone.

The high tide flooding is also expected to hit areas around Myrtle Beach, which had its 6th-highest tide Saturday. Fire officials south of Myrtle Beach have warned the residents of upscale vacation areas of Litchfield and Pawleys Island to “remain vigilant.”

Tidal flooding on Pawleys Island in South Carolina south of Myrtle Beach. Photo by Pawleys Island police.

Saturday morning’s “king tide” produced flooding in several areas along near Myrtle Beach. High water was reported in several areas, including Garden City, Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island.

Pawleys Island police posted several photos of flooding on the island and said they closed the causeway because of tidal flooding.

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