This page will serve both as a historic document for tornado and waterspout alerts and confirmed touchdowns in the Carteret County NC communities of Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle, Pine Knoll Shores, Harkers Island, Beaufort, Morehead City, and other areas.
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We will update this page as new systems are documented in the county.
July 6, 2020
Confirmed waterspout just to the west of Emerald Isle in the inlet captured by many residents of the county. This waterspout was part of a very small thunderstorm the western part of the county and affected no land areas or caused any reported damage.
April 25, 2020 – During the early morning hours on April 25, 2020, the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning after radar indicated that an area associated with a severe thunderstorm was rotating. The alert happened as the storm was over Pine Knoll Shores and continued until 4:30 am until the radar indicated area moved offshore from down east in to the Pamlico Sound. An investigation revealed that no actual waterspout or funnel cloud made contact with the ground and no damage was reported anywhere in the county.
November 1, 2019
Doppler radar indicated possible rotation in a cell moving over Back Sound, Harkers Island, and other areas down east around 12:45 am and issued a warning that expired at 2 am. No reports of touchdowns or damage from this area, but from the same system NWS confirms that a EF0 did touch down in Peletier around 1:15 am.
September 6, 2019 – Emerald Isle, NC
On September 6, 2019 a waterspout was confirmed near Bogue Inlet pier as Hurricane Dorian was moving up the East Coast headed for the county. The waterspout came ashore near the Boardwalk RV park in Emerald Isle around 9:00 a.m. causing significant damage from the RV park all the way to Bogue Sound where it crossed the sound and stayed on the ground for 13 miles terminating in Maysville, NC.
Officials estimate that the waterspout / tornado combination was thought to be about 200 yards wide given damage assessments and was later designated as a EF2 system packing winds of 115 mph.
Waterspout formation is common along Bogue Banks in the Spring, Summer, and early Fall months, especially ahead of and during tropical storms and hurricanes like Dorian. Typically these systems form over water, hit land and dissipate making this cell significant. Additionally, the Emerald Isle waterspout was different in that it reached EF2 status whereas most systems that affect Carteret County NC are categorized as EF1 cells.
During Hurricane Dorian, the National Weather Service noted a very significant outbreak of tornado and waterspouts alerts in coastal and Eastern NC.
November 2013 – Atlantic Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, and Morehead City NC
In November of 2013 a waterspout alert was issued for Carteret County ahead of a severe thunderstorm. During this event, a confirmed waterspout came ashore near the border of Atlantic Beach and Pine Knoll Shores causing significant damage to Island Beach and Racquet Club and Ocean Sands Condominiums. This cell continued on the ground to Bogue Sound where it crossed and came ashore again at Carteret Community College and stayed on the ground through EL’s drive in, Carteret Health Care, the post office near 35th street, continued in to Mandy Farms, then subdivisions near the country club, and finally terminating near Crab Point and the Newport River.
Investigations revealed that the waterspout / tornado combination produced winds of 125 mph and damage assessments indicated that the system was likely an EF2 categorization.
Several people staying at Island Beach & Racquet Club and Ocean Sands were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
This cell was later noted to have stayed on the ground for 5.25 miles causing damage to structures in Atlantic Beach / Pine Knoll Shores and Morehead City.
June 2012 – Harkers Island NC
Ahead of an approaching weather system in June of 2012, a waterspout was observed near Shackleford Banks heading towards Harkers Island NC.
Residents of Harkers Island reported an abrupt uptick in winds during this thunderstorm but no damage was reported and the local weather service gave no indication on categorization.
Readers of this website are encouraged to use the form below to discuss weather events in the county as it relates to tornado and waterspout warnings and alerts, confirmed touchdown reports, damage assessments, and are encouraged to send of pictures and video that we can include in this page. We will credit all contributions to this document.