State News

Waterspout spotted off N.C.; hurricane threatens rip currents

Posted August 27, 2010 4:03 a.m. EDT
Updated August 27, 2010 9:17 a.m. EDT

— A waterspout was spouted in the Pamlico Sound Friday morning, and Hurricane Danielle will likely create more wacky currents off the coasts of the Carolinas this weekend.

Marine weather spotters saw a waterspout 5 miles north of Ocracoke Inlet at 8:17 a.m., according to the National Weather Service. It moved south in the Pamlico Sound by Ocracoke and Portsmouth.

Boaters were warned of gusty winds and urged to take shelter. Radar showed a small cell of rain around Ocracoke at that time.

Waterspouts are columns of rapidly swirling air formed in contact with a water surface and nearly always produced by a swiftly growing  cumulus cloud.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Danielle – which has become a Category 4 storm – will create the threat of rip currents from the Outer Banks to Charleston beginning Friday.

Forecasters say swells from Danielle will reach the coastline by Friday and increase throughout the weekend. They say that will lead to a threat of strong rip currents well into next week.

Danielle’s maximum sustained winds increased Friday to near 135 mph, and additional strengthening is possible.

Danielle is located about 545 miles southeast of Bermuda. The hurricane is forecast to pass east of Bermuda on Saturday night.

Also in the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Earl is moving west with maximum sustained winds near 45 mph.

In the Pacific, Hurricane Frank has weakened slightly off Mexico’s coast. Further weakening is expected over the next couple days as the hurricane moves over cooler waters.