Hurricane Marias Impacts Reach North Carolina Outer Banks

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Storm Surge Expected This Afternoon, Residents Asked to Remain Alert and Prepared

As Hurricane Maria drifts slowly by North Carolina more than 100 miles off our coast, heavy surf is pounding beaches and coastal islands and Governor Roy Cooper encouraged residents to prepare for high winds and water.

“North Carolina is weathering the storm well so far, but it’s early and we can’t let our guard down,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “Maria’s effects will last through tomorrow and beyond and I urge people in coastal areas to stay alert and ready.”

Tropical storm force winds are expected later today through early Thursday along much of the coast. As of 2 PM, no power outages had been reported in coastal counties.

The storm is also bringing rising water, and parts of NC 12 on Hatteras Island are experiencing ocean overwash. The National Hurricane Center issued a storm surge warning this morning for Ocracoke Island and the southern portion of Hatteras Island from Ocracoke Inlet to Cape Hatteras, where water is forecast to rise 2 to 4 feet.

Officials in Dare and Hyde counties have declared states of emergency and issued mandatory evacuations for visitors to Ocracoke and Hatteras islands.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation reported successfully evacuating 898 people and 495 vehicles by ferry from Ocracoke Island yesterday. Ferry service to Ocracoke is now suspended due to rough seas. The ferry terminal at the north end of Ocracoke Island suffered beach erosion that claimed a portion of the paved lanes where vehicles line up to board the ferries.

Heavy, dangerous surf and rip currents will remain a threat all week. People should stay out of the water and exercise extreme caution along beaches, where hazardous debris is being washed ashore. Yesterday, military explosive ordinance disposal teams safely removed two naval mines that washed onto beaches in Corolla and Avon.

The Port of Morehead City is closed to all inbound and outbound traffic. Dare County schools are closed today and schools in Carteret and Tyrrell counties and on Ocracoke Island in Hyde County are dismissing early.

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