October 5, 2015


Highway remains open on Hatteras, but
Ocracoke under water...WITH SLIDE SHOW


By IRENE NOLAN 



The rain, wind, and high surf caused by a coastal low pressure area pounded away at Hatteras and Ocracoke islands for another day on Monday.  

For the most part, roads on Hatteras Island were open, and it was business as usual, though the heavy rain and tidal flooding kept Ocracoke closed down.

Highway 12 on Hatteras Island has not been closed at all, although travel was slow through high standing water and over wet sand. In many spots, the rule was "one lane at a time."

The heaviest ocean overwash on Hatteras Island was in the north Buxton area, where huge waves pounded away at oceanfront motels and houses, turning side streets into rivers. There was also some overwash in northern Hatteras village, where many of the streets were flooded by a combination of standing rainwater and soundside flooding.

The heavy rain also brought plenty of standing water in the usual places through the tri-villages and in Avon and Frisco.

Ocracoke was another story.  A stretch of the dune line on the island's north end, between the pony pens and the ferry docks, was flattened late last week, and ocean overwash, enhanced by the heavy rains, has kept Highway 12 closed since Friday night.  The Hatteras-Ocracoke ferries are not running.

Ocracoke village streets look more like small lakes from combined soundside flooding and heavy rains.  The island remains closed to all but residents and off-island property owners, and many villagers have resorted to kayaks to get around.

Hatteras and Ocracoke have seen two weeks now of rainy weather -- heavy rain at times -- and stiff northeast winds that have pushed up water levels along the ocean front and sent high waves crashing onto beaches, causing significant erosion.

"The end is in sight," Jim Merrell, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Morehead City, said late this afternoon.

Merrell said the rain will decrease to light to moderate overnight, with a chance of rain still in the forecast for Tuesday. The drying will begin Tuesday night and really get underway on Wednesday, which is forecast to be partly cloudy with highs in the mid-70s.

The winds will diminish slowly through the week, though they will remain from the north-northeast until a cold front approaches on Friday.  However, Merrell said, tonight's 20 to 25 mph winds will be below 15 by Wednesday.  Seas will diminish to 8 to 12 feet.

The torrential rains have also brought some record rainfall amounts. Merrell said that from Friday, Sept. 25, through 8 a.m. this morning -- 10 days -- 13.15 inches of rainfall was measured at Billy Mitchell Airport in Frisco.

Merrell said forecasters are hopeful that this afternoon's high tide was the highest we will see on the oceanfront. The Weather Service has extended the coastal flood warning to 5 a.m. on Tuesday, and Merrell said that may need to be extended slightly to cover tomorrow afternoon's high tide, about 3 p.m.

The wind advisory remains in effect until midnight for winds gusting up to 40 mph.

All Cape Hatteras National Seashore visitor facilities remained closed today.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation advises that drivers should proceed with caution and avoid driving through standing water if possible. NCDOT maintenance crews continue to work to clear the road south of the Bonner Bridge.

Updates will be posted on the NCDOT N.C. 12 Facebook page as they are received.

For the latest weather updates, warning, watches, and advisories, go the local Weather Service website at www.weather.gov/mhx.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE SLIDE SHOW


 
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