July 2, 2014


UPDATE: Cancellations and closure begin
as Arthur heads toward Outer Banks




A hurricane watch was posted by the National Hurricane Center earlier today for Hatteras and Ocracoke islands.

Also, cancellations and closures for the Outer Banks area have started to pile up.

At  the 2 p.m. update from the Hurricane Center, Arthur was still a tropical storm and still off the Florida coast.  Winds were 60 mph, pressure was 997 millibars, and the storm was moving north at 7 mph.

The storm was looking stronger than yesterday with thunderstorms now wrapping around it.  Further intensification is expected later today and tomorrow and Arthur is still forecast to pass very close to Cape Hatteras in the early morning Friday as a minimal hurricane.

Hatteras and Ocracoke are expected to experience high seas, heavy rain, high winds, coastal flooding, and rip currents.

Tropical storm force winds are forecast to start to affect Hatteras and Ocracoke in the late evening on Thursday.  Hurricane force winds should be arriving after midnight and continue into the early morning hours of Friday.  Sustained winds of 83 mph are forecast with gusts to 104.

The winds will begin from the southeast and shift to the east and northeast then shift to the north and northwest as the storm passes Cape Hatteras.

Surf conditions are expected to be 12 to 15 feet with possible major beach erosion on south-facing beaches.

When the wind shifts, the storm surge from the Pamlico Sound on lower Hatteras and Ocracoke is expected to be moderate, causing coastal flooding of 2 to 4 feet on the back side of the islands.

The storm will accelerate to northeast as it passes Cape Hatteras on Friday morning.

EVACUATIONS

Based on the most recent data from the National Hurricane Center, Hyde County officials have declared a county-wide state of emergency as well as a voluntary evacuation for Ocracoke Island. Both became effective at 2 p.m. today.

Dare County emergency management officials and the county's control group will meet at 5:30 this evening to decide on evacuations on Hatteras and the rest of the county.

JULY 4 EVENTS

Avon

Because of the approaching tropical storm Arthur, the Avon Fireworks Committee, Avon Property Owners’ Association, Koru Village, Pyrotecnico, and Dare County have made a joint decision to reschedule the July 4 fireworks show on the Avon Fishing Pier, tentatively to Monday, July 7 at 9 p.m.

This storm is expected to pass close to Cape Hatteras on Friday, July 4 with winds and rain that would prohibit the fireworks show from taking place.

Because of the weekend turnover in rental houses with visitors coming to the island, a decision was made to postpone the fireworks show until Monday to ensure that all residents and guests have ample time to prepare a proper celebration of Independence Day, complete with fireworks display, as planned.

The Avon Fireworks Committee will reconvene on Friday, July 4 to confirm these plans after the storm has passed.  Should adjustments be made to the tentative plans, there will be another news release on Friday afternoon.

The Fireworks Committee and Avon Property Owners’ Association would like to thank the National Park Service, Koru Village, Dare County, Pyrotecnico, and all of the event sponsors for their flexibility, cooperation and support.

Hatteras village

July 4 events in Hatteras village have been cancelled.

Ocracoke

Cancellations: Donald Davis storytelling, Ocracoke ponies, and classic car show.

Postponed until the July 5: Sand Sculpture Contest, Fig Cake Bake-Off, Parade (registration place may change), Pirates on Stage (one performance only at 1 p.m.), Evening celebration/Square Dance/Dance Party with the Rockers at Community Square.

Pending: Lighthouse opening for viewing, flag raising ceremony.

A revised schedule of times and venues will be posted when available.

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

The Outer Banks Group National Parks, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, and Wright Brothers National Memorial, has begun the  implementation of the Park’s Hurricane Plan in anticipation of the approach of Tropical Storm Arthur.  The National Weather Service is predicting that the effects of Tropical Storm Arthur will impact the Outer Banks by Thursday, July 3, with storm conditions, possibly continuing through Saturday, July 5, 2014.

In anticipation of this weather event, the following NPS facilities closed today, Wednesday, July 2:

  • All NPS campgrounds -- Ocracoke, Frisco, Cape Point and Oregon Inlet -- closed at noon today and will remain closed until further notice.  The Ocracoke campground reservation system has been temporarily suspended. 
  • Silver Lake Marina NPS docks closed at noon Wednesday, July 2.
  • Ocracoke and Hatteras Island NPS Visitor Centers closed at noon today and will remain closed until further notice.  Bodie Island Visitor Center, Wright Brothers National Memorial and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site will be closed Thursday and Friday, July 3 and 4.  Previously scheduled evening programs are cancelled as of today until further notice.
  • Lifeguard beach operations at Ocracoke, Buxton, and Coquina will close at noon today until further notice.
  • The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse closed at noon today and will remain closed until further notice.  All park special programs scheduled have been cancelled until further notice.
  • The Bodie Island Lighthouse will close at 6:30 p.m. today and the climbing reservation system will be temporarily suspended beginning Thursday.
  • All NPS beaches will be closed to off-road vehicles by 9 p.m. today and will remain closed until further notice.
  • The Buxton and Ocracoke Off-Road Vehicle Permit offices closed at noon today.  The Bodie Island Off-Road Vehicle Permit office will close at 4:30 p.m. today.


ROADS AND FERRIES

 The N.C. Department of Transportation is keeping a close eye on Tropical Storm  Arthur and making preparations to ensure it is ready to respond if needed. Crews in the coastal divisions are checking equipment to make sure it is working properly, topping off their fuel tanks and staging equipment as necessary prior to the storm’s arrival.

Along the Outer Banks, crews are staging front-end loaders, motor graders and bulldozers along Highway 12 in Ocracoke, Rodanthe and Pea Island, south of the Bonner Bridge, in Dare and Hyde counties. This is in addition to other equipment already at the maintenance yards in Manteo, Ocracoke and Buxton. NCDOT has more equipment ready to mobilize if needed, as well as employees prepared to patrol Highway 12 during and after the storm.

A voluntary evacuation order was issued for Ocracoke this afternoon. The North Carolina Department of Transportation's Ferry Division started round-the-clock service between Ocracoke and Hatteras islands at 2 p.m. today. Service will continue until weather conditions make it unsafe to operate.

In addition, ferry tolls on the Ocracoke-Cedar Island and Ocracoke-Swan Quarter runs will be waived until the evacuation order is lifted.

Crews inspected emergency ferry docks in Rodanthe and Stumpy Point to ensure the sites are ready if needed. The larger 180-foot ferries are already in use nearby at the Hatteras-Ocracoke route in case an emergency ferry route is needed once the storm passes.

The ferries cannot safely operate once winds reach about 30-35 miles per hour. The Ferry Division expects brief service interruptions as Tropical Storm Arthur proceeds up the North Carolina Coast, starting Thursday afternoon on the southern routes and lasting into the afternoon Friday on the most northern routes.

NCDOT will provide real-time information about travel conditions through its Twitter feeds. As the storm approaches, the department will send out tweets about road closures, flooding, ferry cancellations and evacuation routes. Valuable travel information is also available through the department’s other social media tools – Facebook and YouTube. You can access social media feeds and other summer storm information on the NCDOT website.

The helpful resources on the website include:


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