The National Hurricane Center has placed much of the Outer Banks under a tropical storm watch, as a disturbed area of weather off the east coast of Florida has become the first tropical depression of 2020.
The watch extends from Duck to New River Inlet, and includes the Albemarle and Pamlico sounds, where forecasters say tropical storm conditions are possible within the next 48 hours.
On the forecast track, the center is expected to pass near or just east of the North Carolina coast on Monday.
Swells generated by the depression are expected to spread northward during the next few days, and could
cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions across much of the U.S. southeast and mid-Atlantic coasts.
Total rain accumulations of 1 to 2 inches are possible over coastal North Carolina Sunday night and Monday.
A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for our coastline through Monday Afternoon. Tropical storm force winds, rain, and dangerous rip currents are the main threats along the immediate coastline, and especially the Outer Banks. pic.twitter.com/5WYrJsjbiF
— NWS Newport/Morehead (@NWSMoreheadCity) May 16, 2020
At 5 p.m. Saturday, the center of Tropical Depression One was located about 505 miles south-southwest of Cape Hatteras, moving northeast at 13 mph. A gradual increase in forward speed is expected Sunday.
Maximum sustained winds were at 35 mph. Gradual strengthening is forecast, and the depression is expected
to become Tropical Storm Arthur on Sunday, two weeks ahead of hurricane season’s official start.
There has been at least one named tropical system before June 1 in each of the last five years. Forecasters at N.C. State University are calling for an active 2020 hurricane season in the Atlantic.
This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.