Ferry News

Tropical storm warning issued for OBX; Hatteras visitor evacuation; NPS closes services

Ocracoke surf Monday afternoon, Sept. 25. Photo: P Vankevich

As Hurricane Maria progresses up the Atlantic Coast, the National Weather Service has issued a tropical storm warning for Ocracoke, including mainland Hyde and the Outer Banks. 

A storm surge watch is issued for Ocracoke and the Outer Banks in Dare County.

This morning (Monday, Sept. 25), the Dare County Control Group declared a state of emergency for Dare County, issuing a mandatory evacuation for all Hatteras Island visitors effective at noon.

Also this morning, Cape Hatteras National Seashore announced it would temporally suspend visitor services and close its facilities including campgrounds and cable and close off-road vehicle Seashore beach access ramps. Access to beaches along the Seashore will be limited to pedestrian use until the crisis is over.

Hyde County commissioners Sunday night declared a state of emergency for the entire county and a mandatory evacuation for Ocracoke visitors that was effective this morning at 5.

The N.C. Ferry Division suspended reservations for the Cedar Island and Swan Quarter ferries and boarding all ferries is on a first-come, first-served basis. Ferries will run as long as conditions are safe, but the Cedar Island and Ocracoke runs were suspended Monday afternoon due to high winds.

Ocracoke ferry line for Hatteras Monday afternoon, Sept. 25. Photo: P. Vankevich

The National Weather Service out of Newport/Morehead City Monday afternoon said models are coming into better agreement keeping the center of Maria about 100-150 miles offshore but a large Tropical Storm wind field that currently extends 230 miles from the center and very large seas will still bring moderate to high impacts across portions of Eastern NC, especially the Outer Banks as it moves slowly off the North Carolina Coast Tuesday through Wednesday.

The greatest impacts are expected to result in large surf on the coast and significant beach erosion is likely with ocean overwash probable in typically prone areas around times of high tide beginning Tuesday and peaking at the high tide Wednesday and likely persisting into Thursday.

Highway 12 along the Outer Banks could be greatly impacted and may become impassable at times, especially on Pea Island.

Coastal flooding along the southern Pamlico Sound is also possible, but the degree of flooding remains dependent upon how close Maria gets before re-curving out to sea.

The sound side of the Outer Banks from Buxton to Ocracoke, and possibly Downeast Carteret County, look to be the most vulnerable locations for sound side flooding at this time.

In addition, tropical storm-force winds, especially in gusts, are expected across the region with strongest winds expected across the Outer Banks.

Rainfall amounts on the Outer Banks look to be around one to two inches.

Maria is expected to quickly move away from the area Friday with an upper level trough approaching from the west.

Track and intensity information for Hurricane Maria can be found by visiting the National Hurricane Center at www.nhc.noaa.gov  and local forecast information is available at weather.gov.

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1 reply »

  1. My wife and I were very disappointed our vacation was cut short because of the mandatory evacuation set on Sept. 25th. We looked forward to all Ocracoke has to offer because it is such a unique place to visit. We were on the first ferry out Monday morning. We just want to thank the authorities for making the decision for all the visitors’ safety. We will make plans again to visit this wonderful place.