If you want texts about the Outer Banks beach conditions here's how to get them: Text "Join OBXBeachConditions" to 30890. Subscribers will also receive beach related weather alerts issued by the National Weather Service for Currituck, Dare, and Hyde Counties. Ocean rescue service providers may also share current/changing beach conditions. Once you no longer need updates, simply text STOP to 30890.
Google will give you a dozen websites that show the historical weather averages:
Summer weather is most often a high in the mid-80s with a fifty percent chance of thunderstorms. That means that at some point in the later afternoon, you might or might not get a thunderstorm. If the conditions are right, it may bring heavy rain and flooding. The Outer Banks weather is mitigated by the ocean. It doesn't get too warm. It doesn't get too cool. It does rain. But that rainy time is but a sliver of a day of wonderful weather.
What about spring, fall and winter?
If you are coming down between October to April, you are either going to have one heck of a nice vacation or experience a solid week of cold, wind-driven rain. Some weeks are wonderful. Some are not.
What's A hurricane?
I was on the island in 1995 and evacuated by Felix. I was on the island in 2017 and experienced Jose on arrival and Maria on departure.
Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. September through October are the months when most problems occur.
If a hurricane is coming close, Dare County is going to close the island. You have to leave. The later you leave the more traffic you will hit. It will suck ... bad. I have talked to dozens of people who stayed through a hurricane. I never heard one suggest it and only a few would ever do it again. I won't do it; I won't stay.
You're vacationing thirty-five miles out in the Atlantic in a place that has more hurricane landfalls than anywhere else in the world. You got to expect it. In these cases have a fallback plan. While going home is one option, there might be others. For example, how about heading inland to Mammoth Cave National Park, the Blue Ridge Skyline Drive, catch a baseball game in Pittsburg. If you are coming to the Outer Banks in hurricane season you should have a plan B.
If you had insurance, you didn't lose your rental costs. If you didn't have insurance, you lost your rental costs. I talk about insurance here.
Sometimes hurricanes are 200 or 300 miles out to sea and still affect the island. Here's a video of Hurricane Jose in 2017 that was way out to sea. It swamped Rodanthe and northern Avon. The condo was fine.
Sometimes hurricanes are 150 miles away, like Maria in 2017 and do the same. In the case of Maria, they closed the island on Monday and opened it back up on Thursday. Some people got rooms and came back.
Hurricanes put salt water and sand on the roads. The sand will get you if you don't have a four wheel drive vehicle and have your tires aired down. The salt water can get into places it shouldn't and mess up your engine. If you have an older car that doesn't like water to begin with, driving through salt water could disable you.
What's an Outer Banks Nor'easter?
A nor'easter is a strong, wind-driven storm that takes out roads and homes. They are very strong storms that mess with and are for a very long time. It is not unusual to find the roads near the dunes washed completely away. Sometimes they take houses. You might find yourself stranded on Hatteras Island should parts of Highway 12 be washed away.
Unlike hurricanes, nor'easters are more common. A couple a year would be the normal.
The most famous nor'easter was the Ash Wednesday Storm of March 6-9, 1962.
Should I visit outside of summer?
Absolutely. I enjoy the beach at any time of the year. Midwinter, with temperatures in the fifties is wonderful compared to home where it is below zero and a blizzard is piling up the snow.
It is January of 2018. The whole Outer Banks is covered in snow. Seeing the beach snow covered is odd.
It is February of 2019. On the 14th I had 65 and sunny and have my first sunburn from walking on the beach. The next day it was 70 and sunny. More sun! Then a half day of rain and mid-50s. Today it is mid-50s and sunny. I have to go for a walk on the beach.
Off season weather is not predictable as to temperature or precipitation. But it's the beach. And the beach is ALWAYS good!