Highway 12 south of the Bonner Bridge to Rodanthe was closed early this morning because of sand and water from ocean overwash. Click here to see slide show.
ocean is pouring over the dunes and onto Highway 12 in north Buxton by
the motels, and also between Frisco and Hatteras at the site of Isabel
Inlet, carved out by a 2003 hurricane.
And, on top of that, storm surge from the Pamlico Sound is inundating Ocracoke, Hatteras, and at least Frisco at this point.
short, there is water everywhere. And in some places, such as the
narrow strip of land between Frisco and Hatteras, the water is pouring
in from both the ocean and the sound at the same time.
soundside flooding began early this morning just before daybreak and
caught most islanders by surprise. Winds are not forecast to go
to the northwest until tonight, and southern Hatteras and Ocracoke
usually get flooding almost only on northwest winds.
morning’s flooding started when the wind shifted from northeast to
north. Winds have been sustained from the north in the mid-40 mph range
with gusts up to 69.
Forecasters at the National Weather Service
in Newport, N.C., say the winds will still shift to the northwest and
then the west as Sandy moves north of the Outer Banks later today and
However, at 8 a.m., the hurricane was still 260 miles
southeast of Cape Hatteras, so island residents and visitors can
probably count on the punishing winds and flooding for at least another
day – and maybe longer.
Ferries have stopped running and with
Highway 12 closed north of Rodanthe to the Bridge and breached in
several areas to the south, there is basically no exit for islanders
and visitors – nor is there easy access without driving through deep
water between many of the villages.
No evacuation was called for
in Dare and Hyde counties, and many visitors arrived at rental houses
yesterday before the highway was closed. Now, they are marooned for at
least today and probably tomorrow.
Meteorologists say the huge
storm that is Sandy and has been dubbed Frankenstorm by some is almost
800 miles in diameter and is affecting areas on the entire East
Coast. It is expected to pass offshore of the Outer Banks by
tomorrow and take a left turn into the northeast, perhaps New Jersey.
Weather Service forecasts that winds will remain in the range of 35 to
45 sustained with gusts of 55 to 65 into tomorrow. The forecast
is for flooding on the ocean side north of Rodanthe that will be 4 to 6
feet above ground level. Soundside flooding is predicted at 3 to 5 feet
above ground level.
Breaking waves today will be in the range of
10 to 15 feet, and the heavy rain has barely let up since late Friday
night. Total rainfall is expected to be 5 to 8 inches with up to
10 inches in some locations.
The Island Free Press will continue
to update the impact of Hurricane Sandy, and we expect to have another
story and slide show this evening.
Click here to see slide show. (IPad, IPhone and other non-flash compatible device users)
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