NEWPORT, N.C. (AP) -- Forecasters say Hurricane Sandy could lash the North Carolina coast with up to five inches of rain and winds of 30 to 50 mph as it tracks north along the U.S. coast.
The National Weather Service office in Newport said Thursday the threat to eastern North Carolina this weekend could be limited if the storm stays offshore. A turn west could brush the Outer Banks.
The main flooding threat will be on the southern end of the Pamlico Sound and east facing beaches along the Outer Banks on Sunday.
Dare County emergency management officials expected the winds to pick up strength Friday and reach gale (34 mph+) and storm (50 mph+) force by Saturday night and remain strong through Sunday.
On Monday, winds from the storm are expected to shift to the northwest and could cause moderate soundside flooding of 3 to 4 feet Monday night. Strong beach erosion and road overwash will be a major concern along NC 12 from Kitty Hawk to Buxton. Some minor structural damage could occur; however, the most threatening aspect of the storm will be ocean overwash and potential loss of highway along NC 12 south of Oregon Inlet on Hatteras Island.
National Weather Service senior forecaster Brian Cullen says some areas could see moderate coastal flooding of up to four feet, spelling trouble for any waterside homes not raised onto stilts.