N.C. Highway 12 closed at 5 p.m. on Saturday evening as conditions continued to deteriorate with the weekend nor’easter. As of late Saturday afternoon, major ocean overwash had not yet been reported throughout the island, however, water levels in the Pamlico Sound had noticeably dropped on northern Hatteras Island, and particularly in the Tri-villages area.
NCDOT reported on Saturday afternoon that crews will be back out early on Sunday to assess N.C. Highway 12 and to determine when the closure can be lifted. However, continued hazardous conditions are expected over the next 24 hours, as well as the possibility for continued road closures.
Per the National Weather Service Newport / Morehead City office, the worst impacts from the coastal storm will occur later tonight and Sunday, with storm surge inundation of 2 to 4 feet above ground level still forecast for Hatteras Island, as well as wind gusts in the 60-70 mph range. The strongest winds of the storm are expected over the next 12-18 hours.
In some areas along the oceanfront north of Cape Hatteras in Buxton, battering waves with significant wave run-up will cause damage to property. Numerous oceanside roads will be impassable and will be under several feet of water and vehicles could be flooded. Portions of N.C. Highway 12 will likely become inundated and continue to be impassible over the next few high tide cycles.
The next high tides are around 10:00 p.m. on Saturday night, and around 10:30 a.m. on Sunday morning.
Offshore peak wave heights of 15-23 ft. are still forecast with the coastal storm for tonight and tomorrow, as well as 4-6 inches of additional rainfall for Hatteras and Ocracoke islands.
The slow-moving storm will eventually move away from the region on Monday with winds diminishing rapidly, though high surf will continue north of Cape Hatteras into early next week.
For information about current road conditions from the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), visit drivenc.gov or dial 511. When dialing 511 on weekdays from 8:15 a.m. to 7:45 p.m., weekends from 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., callers speak directly with an operator who can answer traffic and travel-related questions. Overnight and during emergencies, travelers should go to DriveNC.gov for the latest travel information. For real-time travel information, visit DriveNC.gov or follow NCDOT on social media.
For more information on the local forecast, visit www.weather.gov/mhx for weather information, or the National Weather Service office in Newport / Morehead City’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NWSMoreheadCity/.
The Island Free Press will continue to post updates as soon as they become available.