Sandy's winds, waves sweep N.C. coast

N.C. 12 closed south of Oregon Inlet and Rodanthe

jprice@newsobserver.comOctober 28, 2012 

Hurricane Sandy hadn’t caused serious destruction along North Carolina’s coast as of Sunday night, but the massive storm wasn’t done.

“So far, we’ve been fortunate as we have not had reports of severe damage from Hurricane Sandy,” said Doug Hoell, the state’s emergency management director. “But this is still a slow-moving, powerful storm that could impact North Carolina well into next week. People need to continue monitoring this storm, stay inside and not put their lives or the lives of others at risk by going outside or trying to travel.”

A tropical storm warning along the coast was in effect until late Monday, said Shawna Cokley, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Raleigh office.

Late Sunday, state officials said widespread flooding on the sound side of the Dare County barrier islands was possible, and could reach 7 feet above normal levels in some areas.

The main road on the Outer Banks, N.C. 12, was closed south of Oregon Inlet between the bridge there and Rodanthe because of sand and water on the road, said Chris Mackey, a spokeswoman for Gov. Bev Perdue’s office.

The road closure cut off the populated parts of Hatteras Island, including Hatteras Village. Also, flooding was reported in Hatteras, Buxton and on Ocracoke, where up to two feet of water pushed ashore from the sound side of the island cut off N.C. 12 there. Ferries in the region were out of operation until the winds dropped to speeds that are safe for operation.

The state Department of Transportation was dispatching crews to clear N.C. 12 of sand and check the condition of the pavement.

No injuries were reported, and there were only scattered reports of power outages in the eastern part of the state. Two shelters were open, in Carteret and Pamlico counties, and had 33 evacuees by Sunday afternoon.

In the mountains, the storm was expected to cause snow and high winds overnight and today. By nightfall, sleet was already reported in some areas.

Travel from RDU International wasn’t disrupted Sunday, but airport officials were expecting a significant number of canceled flights as the storm moves up the Eastern Seaboard.

“If you’re supposed to fly to the north on Monday, you could be in for a really bad day,” said Keenan Ormond, a spokesman for airport operations. “We are expecting a lot of cancellations.”

Anyone with flights into the areas that might be affected by the storm should check with their airline before coming to the airport, he said.

Direct effects of the storm, though, were expected to be modest in the Triangle Monday. “We’re looking mainly at breeziness and maybe some showers,” Cokley said.

Up-to-date information on road conditions and ferries can be found at: www.ncdot.gov/travel.

Price: 919-829-4526

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