The Latest: Outer Banks crowds thin as tropical system nears


RODANTHE, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on tropical weather systems that threaten the Southeast (all times local):

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10:45 a.m.

A slow stream of cars is heading north on the main highway off Hatteras Island in North Carolina as crowds of visitors thin ahead of the approach of a tropical weather system.

Dozens of cars with tags from places including Maryland, New York and Ohio were seen headed Tuesday morning toward a bridge to the mainland. There was light, intermittent rain and mostly cloudy skies.

A tropical depression off the Atlantic Coast is expected to become a tropical storm and bring rain and wind to North Carolina’s Outer Banks as it passes by early Wednesday.

A public beach near Rodanthe was nearly empty, save for two parents enjoying the morning with their 11-year-old son. Joe and Kelley Walker of Virginia say they plan to stay through the weather and watch movies inside when it gets rainy.

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8:05 a.m.

A tropical depression that threatens the North Carolina coast has turned north-northwestward in the Atlantic.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the depression is expected to later curve north and then northeast on Wednesday. Its forecast track shows its center will be near North Carolina’s Outer Banks by Tuesday afternoon or evening.

The depression’s maximum sustained are near 35 mph (55 kph) and forecasters say it could become a tropical storm later in the day.

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5:20 a.m.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says a hurricane hunter aircraft has been sent to investigate a tropical depression nearing the North Carolina coast.

The depression’s maximum sustained winds remain near 35 mph (55 kph) Tuesday morning but forecasters say it could become a tropical storm later in the day. The depression is centered about 95 miles (150 kilometers) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and is moving northwest near 6 mph (9 kph).

Meanwhile, another tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico could hit northern Florida as a tropical storm later in the week.

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3 a.m.

Officials say a potential tropical storm is already forming off the coast of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. It’s expected to bring up to 45 mph winds and heavy rain that could flood low-lying areas.

The tropical depression was about 115 miles (185 kilometers) southeast of Cape Hatteras on Tuesday morning with top sustained winds of 35 mph (55 kph). Officials say it’s expected to become a tropical storm in coming hours but not grow any stronger.

Beachgoers, boat captains and business owners warily waited for the storm to wash out one of the summer’s last busy weeks.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami also say another tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico could hit northern Florida as a tropical storm later in the week and possibly head toward the Atlantic coast.

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