National Park Service (NPS)

Coastal storm impacts Cape Hatteras National Seashore

The north end of Ocracoke was closed part of Monday following the ocean breaching the road during Sunday's storm. Photo by William Boyd

The north end of Ocracoke was closed following the ocean breaching Highway 12 during Sunday’s storm. After NC DOT crews made repairs the road reopened Monday afternoon.  Photo by William Boyd

Feb. 9, 2016

Update: 9:29 a.m. NC Dot reported:  Tuesday morning update: NC 12 closed on Ocracoke. There is ocean over wash and sand on the roadway in Buxton, but there are crews on site keeping both lanes open. NC 12 is closed in Kitty Hawk between Byrd and Historic Streets. NC 12 at Pea Island, Tri Villages, Southern Shores, and Duck has standing water, but it is open and passable. Please proceed with caution.

NC Ferry Division is reporting that the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry is suspended due to the road closure. 

The winter storm that passed through the Outer Banks Sunday night impacted some park beaches and created temporary closures of several beach access ramps. 

The storm brought heavy rain, strong winds, and both ocean and sound over-wash. Many areas continue to experience standing water, rough surf conditions and high tides.

Park staff are assessing areas for damage and potentially unsafe conditions.  All park beaches are open to pedestrian access unless otherwise posted but some beaches may be too narrow for safe passage of off road vehicles, especially at high tide.

During the winter months, rough surf and high wind conditions routinely produce life-threatening rip currents capable of overtaking even the strongest swimmers and surfers and create hazardous beach driving conditions for visitors of Cape Hatteras National Seashore.  Park visitors should use extreme caution, watching for debris and erosion areas.

The area of Highway 12 that has been built up for the last several weeks and was over washed Sunday. Photo by C. Leinbach

The area of Highway 12 that has been built up for the last several weeks and was over washed Sunday. Photo by C. Leinbach

The following Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) beach access ramps and roads are currently closed to vehicles due to deep standing water, ocean over-wash during high tides, and rough surf conditions:

  • Ramps 25, 43 and 44 on Hatteras Island
  • Ramp 72 on Ocracoke Island
  • Pole Road (south of Ramp 55)
  • Lighthouse Road at Hatteras Island is closed south of the district administrative office

Daily monitoring of these areas will continue.   All Park Visitor Centers and ORV permit offices are operating under normal winter schedules.

The park website will be updated as conditions change: http://www.nps.gov/caha/index.htm

Visit the NCDOT website for updates to the status of NC Highway 12 and ferry service: http://www.ncdot.gov/traffictravel/

Safety tips:

* Stay out of the water during dangerous surf conditions.

* Heed all posted signs

* Tune in to NOAA weather radio and monitor websites (National Weather Service, Eastern Dare County, NC) and local media for updated surf conditions.

Damage to Highway 12 from the Feb. 8 storm. Photo by William Boyd

Damage to Highway 12 from the Feb. 8 storm. Photo by William Boyd

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse . Photo from National Park Service.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse . Photo from National Park Service.

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