4:00 P.M. UPDATE: N.C. Highway 12 on Ocracoke has now reopened to traffic. Sand and water remain on the roadway, so all motorists should drive with extreme caution. Ferry service between Hatteras and Ocracoke has also resumed.
Per an 11:30 a.m. update from NCDOT, N.C. Highway 12 is now closed on Ocracoke Island between the Pony Pens and the ferry terminal due to a dune breach and ocean overwash. N.C. Highway 12 is also closed on northern Hatteras Island between Rodanthe and Oregon Inlet. Ferry service between Hatteras and Ocracoke Island has been temporarily suspended until the highway reopens.
NCDOT crews are on the scene to try and reopen the highway as soon as possible, and the Island Free Press will post updates as soon as they are available.
Severe ocean overwash was reported in several hotspots on N.C. Highway 12 and adjacent roadways with Sunday morning’s high tide, which was at approximately 10:00 a.m.
Overwash was reported in the Ocean View Drive area of Avon, Mirlo Beach, north Buxton, north Hatteras, Pea Island, and northern Ocracoke Island, and overwash is expected in additional hotspots during the next several high tide cycles.
Peak water levels will be similar to yesterday, although impacts could be more severe in areas where dune structures have already been compromised.
Travelers should note that N.C. Highway 12 could continue to be impacted over the next several days, and especially in the following areas that are prone to ocean overwash:
- South of the Basnight Bridge to the Pea Island Visitor Center
- Mirlo Beach area, on the northern edge of the tri-villages
- South of the Avon Pier along Ocean View Drive
- At the north end of Buxton
- Between Frisco and Hatteras Village
- Along Pole Rd., south of Ramp 55 in Hatteras village
- Along the north end of Ocracoke island
The next high tide is around 10:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Dangerous seas are expected today with a High Surf Advisory in effect for all area beaches. The highest waves are forecast north of Cape Hatteras, with peak heights of 8-12 feet.
These conditions will likely bring life-threatening conditions on and just off area beaches, and all beach-goers should use extreme caution along the shoreline. Per the National Park Service, most, if not all, off-road vehicle routes will be inaccessible and should be avoided.
Impacts will continue through Sunday and into early next week. The rip current risk is expected to remain elevated for all Hatteras and Ocracoke island beaches for the next several days as well.
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/.
N.C. Highway 12 in northern Buxton on Saturday morning. Video from Cape Hatteras Motel