[animated hurricane]

June 1st marks the beginning of the hurricane season. Come to this page to find current conditions on the Outer Banks whenever there is a threatening tropical storm or hurricane in the Atlantic approaching the U.S. coastline. We'll keep you informed on evacuations, surf conditions, etc. all with a non-media enhanced perspective. We're here, we'll tell you the real deal! Check out some photos of the surf caused by several storms from the past few years.

Some links for official local Emergency Management Information and Hurricane Bulletins:

Bulletins from the National Hurricane Center

Dare County Advisory Information:

If you have any questions:
Call your local Dare County Emergency Management Office 252-475-5000

Hurricane tracking links:

Past Hurricane Photos

Hurricane Isabel Photos
(Taken 9/17/03)
The Media swarms the Ramada in Kill Devil Hills.
We counted at least 16 satellite trucks.
Hurricane Isabel Photos
(Taken 9/18/03)
Kitty Hawk Bypass MP 4
Kill Devil Hills Bypass MP 5.25
Kill Devil Hills Bypass MP 5.25
Kill Devil Hills Beach Road MP 5.5
Kill Devil Hills Beach Road MP 6
Kill Devil Hills Beach Road MP 6
Kill Devil Hills Beach Road MP 6.25
Kill Devil Hills Beach Road MP 6
Seagate North Shopping Center MP 5.25
Nags Head Fishing Pier MP 12
Nags Head Fishing Pier MP 12

Past Hurricane Photos:

Hurricane Dennis Photos
(Taken from 8/29/99 - 9/4/99)

8/29/99 - Nags Head Pier
Click for more...
8/30/99 - Beach Road in Kitty Hawk
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8/31/99 - Ocean at Kitty Hawk
ocean photo
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9/04/99 - Kitty Hawk to Nags Head
Click for more...
Hurricane Edouard Surf Photos
(Taken from Nags Head Fishing Pier 9/1/96)
Pictures of Hurricane Surf Pictures of Hurricane Surf
Pictures of Hurricane Surf Pictures of Hurricane Surf
Hurricane Edouard Surf Photos
(Taken from Nags Head & South of Oregon Inlet 9/2 - 9/3/96)
Pictures of Hurricane Surf Pictures of Hurricane Surf
Hurricane Lili Surf Photos
(Taken from Kitty Hawk October '96)
Pictures of Hurricane Surf Pictures of Hurricane Surf

What is a Hurricane?

A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone -a general term for all circulating weather systems (counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere) over tropical waters. These storms start as a tropical disturbance and as winds intensify, become a tropical depression - An organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 38 mph or less. Then comes a tropical storm - maximum sustained winds of 39 - 73 mph, until finally, when winds reach 74 mph or higher we have a Hurricane.

In the Western Pacific, hurricanes are called typhoons, and similar storms in the Indian Ocean are called cyclones.

Hurricane Hazards

The main hazards associated with tropical cyclones and especially hurricanes are storm surge, high winds, heavy rain, and flooding, as well as tornadoes. The intensity of a hurricane is an indicator of damage potential.

A storm surge is a large dome of water, 50 to 100 miles wide, that sweeps across the coastline near where a hurricane makes landfall. It can be more than 15 feet deep at its peak. The surge of high water topped by waves is devastating. Along the coast, storm surge is the greatest threat to life and property. Wave and current action associated with the tide also causes extensive damage. Water weighs approximately 1,700 pounds per cubic yard; extended pounding by frequent waves can demolish any structure not specifically designed to withstand such forces.

Hurricane winds not only damage structures, but the barrage of debris they carry is quite dangerous to anyone unfortunate enough (or unwise enough!) to be caught out in them. Damaging winds begin well before the hurricane eye makes landfall. Hurricane-force winds can easily destroy poorly constructed buildings and mobile homes. Debris such as signs, roofing material, and small items left outside become flying missiles in hurricanes. Extensive damage to trees, towers, water and underground utility lines (from uprooted trees), and fallen poles cause considerable disruption.

Tropical cyclones frequently produce huge amounts of rain, and flooding can be a significant problem, particularly for inland communities. A typical hurricane brings at least 6 to 12 inches of rainfall to the area it crosses. The resulting floods cause considerable damage and loss of life. Rains are generally heaviest with slower moving storms (less than 10 mph). To estimate the total rainfall in inches, one rule of thumb is to divide 100 by the forward speed of the hurricane in miles per hour (100/forward speed = estimated inches of rain). The heaviest rain usually occurs near or along the cyclone track in the period 6 hours before and 6 hours after landfall. However, storms can last for days.

Tornadoes spawned by landfalling hurricanes can cause enormous destruction. As a hurricane moves shoreward, tornadoes often develop on the fringes of the storm. When associated with hurricanes, tornadoes are not usually accompanied by hail or a lot of lightning, clues that citizens in other parts of the country watch for. Tornado production can occur for days after landfall when the tropical cyclone remnants maintain an identifiable low pressure circulation. They can also develop at any time of the day or night during landfall. However, by 12 hours after landfall, tornadoes tend to occur mainly during daytime hours.

Hurricane Classifications
Category Winds (mph)Storm Surge


74 - 95

4 - 5 ft.


96 -110

6 - 8


111 - 130

9 - 12


131 - 155

13 - 18




Atlantic Hurricane Names for 2015






















Hurricane Evacuation

Hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30. Whether you are vacationing on the Outer Banks or are a year-round resident, here's information you should know in order to prepare your hurricane safety plan.

Hurricane Watch - Hurricane conditions are a real possibility in the area.

When a watch is issued make sure your car has gasoline, review escape plan, listen to radio/TV/NOAA Weather radio for official bulletins of the storm's progress, stock up on canned food and drinking water, check survival kit, make sure medical prescriptions are filled and packed to go, gather up important papers, including identification, have on hand an extra supply of cash.

Hurricane Warning - A Hurricane (winds in excess of 73 mph) is expected within 24 hours in the area. Start precautionary measures now!

When a warning is issued move garbage cans, lawn furninture, awnings and other outside objects into you house or garage or anchor them securely. Cover windows and garage doors (recommend 3/4" plywood fitted and secured adequately. Garage or store vehicles left behind. Moor boats securely or store in building. Shut off water, electricity and gas. Mobile homes - get out immediately and check tie-downs. If evacuating, leave early. Stay with friends or relatives, at low-rise inland motel-hotel, or go to a predesignated public shelter outside a flood zone. Notify neighbors and a family member outside of the warned area of your evacuation plans.

Evacuation Kit - Battery-operated radio, Flashlight, First aid kit, 2 week supply of medicine, blankets or sleeping bags, extra clothing, lightweight folding chairs/cots, personal items including books, toys and snacks, Infant necessities, Important papers (valid ID) and money.

Evacuation Routes

Know what evacuation route you will take, or follow the blue hurricane evacuation route signs. Stay tuned to the following radio stations for updates:

  • WNHW FM (92.5)
  • WOBR FM (95.3)
  • WKJX FM (96.7)
  • WVOD (99.1)
  • WERX (102.5)
  • WCXL FM (104.1)
  • WRSR FM (105.7)
  • WGAI AM (56)
  • WOBR AM (1530)
  • or NOAA Weather radio: 162.550

Necessary Items To Take With You During an Evacuation

  • First Aid Kit
  • Two-week supply of medicine
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Extra clothing
  • Lightweight folding chairs or cots
  • Personal items including books, toys and snacks
  • Infant necessities
  • Important papers (valid ID) and money

Don't Forget Your Pets!

Another concern during storms is how to protect your pets. Because pets are not allowed in most emergency shelters, you need to plan ahead for their safety and welfare.

Keep shots up-to-date and have a health certificate readily available. Have current ID, proof of rabies shots, and proof of ownership and photos in case you and your pet become separated. Keep a week's worth of food, bottled water and any medications your pet may need. If you can't take your pet with you, arrange for someone to take care of the animal for you. Because pets also feel stress, use a pet carrier and keep an extra leash handy.

If you must leave your pet behind, prepare a secure area inside the house away from windows. Bring your pet inside before the storm hits, and NEVER leave any pet outside or tied up during a hurricane. Leave only dry food, dispensers are a must for birds, and make sure there is access to plenty of water. (A good idea is to leave the toilet seat up and fill the bathtub.) Confine smaller pets from larger ones, and leave dangerous animals in special crates or cages. You should also provide access to high places, such as counter tops, in case your home floods.

There are still concerns after the storm has passed. Be careful allowing your pet back outside. Wild animals that may have entered your area can be a threat as are downed power lines. If your pet does become lost during the storm, or if you find a pet, contact veterinary hospitals, animal control facilities and human societies in your area.

Stage 1 Critical need personnel identified by special permit issued by the Municipal Mayors and the Chairman of the Dare County Control Group
Stage 2 Permanent residents and resident property owners that have a reentry permit identified with an "R", a Dare county drivers license or a current Dare County Tax receipt
Stage 3 A non-resident improved property owner - identified by a solid color permit or a current Dare County Tax receipt.
State 4 General public
Re-Entry Permits are issued for easy identification at control points - No one will be denied entry with proper identification.

If you have any questions,
call your local Emergency Management Office 252-475-5000

Dare County Advisory Information

*Information in part provided by NOAA and the National Hurricane Center.

Additional Resources:
National Weather Service Hurricane Awareness
FEMA Information
Hurricane Tracking Chart (PDF)
Glossary of Hurricane Terms
USA Today's Weather Center
Hurricane Hunters

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