July 2, 2014

UPDATE: Mandatory evacuation
for Hatteras as hurricane flags fly


Dare County issued a mandatory evacuation for Hatteras Island late this afternoon as Tropical Storm Arthur strengthened and hurricane watches were changed to warnings along the eastern North Carolina coast.

At  the 5 p.m. update from the Hurricane Center, Arthur was a strong tropical storm and still off the Florida coast.  However, it was only four miles per hour from becoming a hurricane with the winds up to 70 mph. Pressure was up to 997 millibars, and the storm continued to move north at 7 mph.

The storm was much better organized this afternoon and forecasters said the wind field was expanding.  Further intensification is expected later tonight and tomorrow and Arthur is still forecast to pass very close to Cape Hatteras in the early morning Friday as a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 85 mph.

The Dare County Control Group met at 5:30 and issued a mandatory evacuation order for residents and visitors on Hatteras Island beginning at 5 a.m. Thursday.  After 5 a.m. Thursday, no access will be allowed to Hatteras Island. 

The county advises all Hatteras Island residents and visitors to evacuate as expediently as possible during daylight hours on Thursday before the effects of Tropical Storm Arthur begin to bring high winds, rough seas, dangerous rip currents, and the potential for water and sand overwash on Highway 12.

A State of Emergency has been issued for all of Dare County with the only restriction being the mandatory evacuation of Hatteras Island.

Visitors should evacuate with all personal belongings and follow instructions offered by their property management company. 

Those evacuating to areas north of Dare County are encouraged to travel westbound on Highway 64 to Interstate 95.  Evacuating through the rural areas to the west of Dare County will help avoid traffic backups and congestion that may prolong evacuation by traveling northbound through the Hampton Roads portion of Virginia. 

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 affecting Hatteras and Ocracoke in the  evening on Thursday.  Hurricane force winds are expected to arrive 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.

Seas across the coastal waters will build to 15 to 25 feet.

Breaking waves of 16 to 17 feet are expected 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 the northeast as it passes Cape Hatteras on Friday.


The local NWS weather service office in Newport's website is http://www.weather.gov/mhx/. The National Hurricane Center can be found at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.

To receive email alerts directly from Dare County Emergency Management, visit www.darecountyem.com, and follow @DareCoEM on Twitter.  The Dare County Emergency Operations Center will be operating throughout the storm and may be reached at 252-475-5655 or visit www.darenc.com for updated information.


The National Weather Service has issued a Hurricane Warning for all of Dare County which means the area should anticipate near hurricane conditions. 

The Dare County Control Group serves as the decision making body for Emergency Management and consists of representatives of Dare County, the Sheriff’s Office, the National Park Service, and the towns of Duck, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, Manteo, Nags Head, and Southern Shores.

Bulletins from the Joint Information Section will be issued as conditions warrant and the next scheduled update will be Thursday, July 3 by 10:00 a.m. 


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.



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.


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.


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.


 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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