The persistent area of low pressure that has hung off the southeast coast for more than a week is finally drifting away to the northeast, and conditions on the Outer Banks are improving this morning.
Highway 12 on Ocracoke opened about 8:30 a.m., and the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry began running about the same time.
Highway 12 on Hatteras is open — and has been throughout the stormy week. There was ocean overwash in north Buxton at last night’s and this morning’s high tides, and some sand and standing rainwater remain on the road, in places, especially south of the Bonner Bridge and in some of the villages.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation advises that drivers should proceed with caution and avoid driving through standing water if possible. NCDOT maintenance crews will work throughout the day 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.
Travelers who plan to take the ferry are advised to call the appropriate terminal ahead of time to make sure that their run has not been delayed or cancelled. The telephone number for the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferries is 252 986-2353. For the Ocracoke-Swan Quarter and Ocracoke-Cedar Island ferries, you can call 252 928-1665.
For a change, most of the standing water on Hatteras and Ocracoke roadways is from rain, not ocean overwash, but be aware that even the rain puddles are salty on the islands. Slow down when traveling through water on the roadway. If there is water in one lane, you will find drivers are taking turns letting vehicles pass in the drier lane.
On Hatteras Island in Frisco, 7.28 inches of rain has been measured since Thursday. Some areas have seen even heavier rainfall.
The heavy rain has ceased for a time on Hatteras this morning, but the National Weather Service continues to forecast an 80 percent chance of more showers today and 70 percent tonight.
The coastal flood advisory and heavy surf advisory remain in effect until 8 a.m. Monday north of Cape Hatteras. And the Weather Service warns swimmers that the large breaking waves and a continued high threat of rip currents will continue into tomorrow.
The National Park Service urges caution on all seashore beaches and has closed some ramps because of higher than normal tides and beach erosion.
Wave heights of 11 to 14 feet are forecast today north of Cape Hatteras and 7 to 10 feet to the south of the cape.
The weather should improve on Monday with partly cloudy skies, a high of 82, winds from the east at 10 to 15 mph, and only a 20 percent chance of a shower.
Video by Jim Leutgens/OuterBanksVoice.com