High water levels in the sound were reported on Tuesday morning as Maria trudged closer to the North Carolina coastline. Water levels at the Coast Guard Station’s tide gauge are now running about 2 ft. above normal, and with the northerly winds moving in today and persisting into tomorrow, the greatest soundside impacts may not been seen on Hatteras Island until mid-afternoon Wednesday, with potential for 2-4 feet of water above the ground.
The building seas and winds are still forecast to create ocean overwash and dangerous ocean conditions for the next few days, per the Tuesday morning update from the National Weather Service Newport/Morehead City Office.
Dangerous surf of 12 to 15 feet will produce significant beach erosion, and 30-40 mph winds with gusts in the 55 mph range are forecast to arrive Tuesday afternoon or evening.
NCDOT and the Dare County Sheriff’s office reported good road conditions overnight on Hatteras Island, per Dare County Emergency Management. However, flooding on Highway 12 was reported by several residents in Hatteras village as of 8 a.m. on Tuesday.
The mandatory evacuation of visitors to Hatteras Island remains in place and a checkpoint will be established at 7 a.m. at the Bonner Bridge. Reentry credentials will be needed to gain access to Hatteras Island, and details on reentry can be found at https://www.darenc.com/departments/emergency-management/reentry.
Dare County Schools are closed today, as are all Dare County Offices on Hatteras Island.
As of 8 a.m., Maria was located about 190 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, and was moving north at 7 mph with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 240 miles. NOAA buoy 41025, located about 15 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, recently reported a wind gust of 45 mph.
Visit www.weather.gov/mhx for weather forecast information covering Eastern NC, and visit the National Hurricane Center at www.nhc.noaa.gov for information on the tropics.
The Island Free Press will continue to monitor this system and will post updates as soon as they are available.