- The Washington Times - Monday, July 21, 2008

RALEIGH, N.C. | Tropical Storm Cristobal dumped rain and brought rough seas to the North Carolina coast Sunday, and forecasters predicted the weakening system was headed for the open Atlantic.

At 5 p.m., the National Hurricane Center said the center of the storm had moved to 45 miles east of Cape Lookout and 40 miles south-southwest of Cape Hatteras with maximum sustained winds continuing at 45 mph. The storm was moving to the northeast at 8 mph.

The advisory said the storm’s center would head away from the coast early Monday.

The National Hurricane Center issued a tropical storm warning from Cape Lookout to the Virginia-North Carolina line, including Pamlico Sound.

The storm’s strongest winds were east of the center, out at sea, National Weather Service meteorologist Rich Bandy said. Winds on the coastal side of the storm were about 25 mph and will have little impact on coastal cities unless the storm strengthens.

“There is a little more rain than earlier in the day,” Mr. Bandy said. “It’s not like the whole area is being inundated.”

Mr. Bandy said some rain was falling over the smoldering wildfire that has burned 64 square miles in Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge since lightning started it June 1.

“We’re still seeing fairly continuous bands of showers and isolated thunderstorms moving through eastern North Carolina,” said Mark Willis, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service bureau in Newport. “There are going to be some areas that don’t receive anything and other areas will get several inches.”

The prospect of seeing Cristobal head out to sea pleased a fishing captain standing on a dock at Ocracoke, an island south of Cape Hatteras.

“Let’s get it over with so we can go fishing,” said Capt. David Nagel, who has operated the “Drum Stick” charter boat for 31 years. “Nobody’s out. Everybody’s tied up.”

Capt. Nagel said he saw ominous clouds looming to the south and that the seas outside his harbor were 6 to 8 feet with winds blowing about 25 mph.

Rainfall was expected to be 1 to 2 inches with isolated amounts of 4 to 5 inches in areas where heavy rain bands passed overhead, said Mr. Bandy.

Tony Spencer, who lives on Ocracoke and is chief of emergency management in Hyde County, which includes the island as well as mainland, said he had seen “very minor rain.

“It’s been really almost nothing,” Mr. Spencer said. “No downpours, just sprinkles.”

Cristobal’s winds were expected to push tides 2 to 3 feet above normal. The National Weather Service said a few areas could see flooding from heavy rain.

Minor flooding was reported Saturday in Wilmington, N.C., and the area picked up 3.43 inches of rain, a record for the day.

The Hurricane Center also said Tropical Storm Bertha had lost its tropical system characteristics and was expected to weaken during the next day or so. The center of Bertha was 850 miles east-northeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Dolly, the fourth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, unleashed showers on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula as it sped toward the Cancun area on Sunday. It was expected to reach the Gulf of Mexico on Monday morning.

A tropical storm warning was issued for the Yucatan peninsula.

Tropical storms have maximum sustained winds of at least 39 mph.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs through Nov. 30.

cAP writer Jeffrey Collins contributed to this report.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide