Tropical Storm Maria Brushes by the Outer Banks

The Outer Banks dodges another bullet as  "Hurricane Maria" gets downgraded to a Tropical Storm before reaching our shores. What once was a category 5 Hurricane packing winds of 175+ mph has lost it's steam and dropped to 65 mph causing the usual beach erosion and ocean over wash. This is the same storm that destroyed Puerto Rico as it made landfall as a major category 4. The Outer Banks has taken precautionary measures by evacuating tourists on Ocracoke days ago and closed Dare County schools both Tuesday and Wednesday due to tropical storm force conditions. It has been estimated that over 10,000 people have evacuated the Outer Banks due to this storm. The worst conditions are expected Wednesday into Thursday morning -- just before Maria makes a hard right turn and hits the gas, leaving the East Coast alone. [caption id="attachment_82616" align="aligncenter" width="1220"] Photo courtesy of NOAA.[/caption] What does this mean for waves? Well, for starters, we've got plenty of surf. The swell peaked around 20 feet just hours before this posting and is now starting to fade, however, wind direction is currently working against us with 44-55 mph gusts out of the North causing extremely choppy and unmanageable conditions. Our Forecasts are indicating a shift in wind direction out of the NW starting tomorrow morning which could start cleaning things up but due to the size of this swell, it's likely that Thursday will also be out of the question if you're looking to get wet. Friday the swell is expected to continue to fall into a smaller head high+ range but winds are forecasted to be fairly moderate out of the North. The cleanest conditions are expected on Saturday morning as the winds finally lay down from this storm and shift offshore. All of this is completely dependent on how quickly Maria makes her exit. Stay tuned to with the latest in wave/wind forecasts and check our cams for conditions to improve as we get closer to the weekend.