RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — We all saw the images of surge and coastal flooding as Hurricane Ian made landfall along the South Carolina coast Friday. But Ian is no more, so why is coastal flooding still happening for the Outer Banks? It’s all thanks to low pressure and high tide.
Let’s talk about the low pressure: around a low, winds flow counterclockwise, so northerly winds are flowing around this low across the Outer Banks and into the sounds. The winds are strong however, creating waves in some places more than 10 feet high.
That water has to go somewhere, so it literally floods down across the coast and into the sounds, where forecasts are calling for 2-4 feet of water above ground level.
That level of water will put roads underwater and cause possible beach erosion, especially from Duck, down toward Hatteras, even Morehead City and Emerald Isle.
That brings us to the next part of the coastal flooding problem: high tide.
High tides Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday afternoon were running 2-3 feet above normal. So on top of the natural water rise being higher than normal, you have strong winds and high waves pushing even more water into vulnerable areas.
While Ian is thankfully no more, this is a good reminder that even non-tropical events can have significant impacts on our coast.