Dare County declared a state of emergency and a mandatory evacuation for all visitors on Hatteras Island on Monday morning due to Hurricane Maria’s expected impact on North Carolina’s coast.
Hyde County officials issued a mandatory evacuation for all visitors on Ocracoke Island that went into effect 5 a.m. Monday.
“Visitors on Hatteras Island should pack all of their belongings and depart as soon as possible, before conditions deteriorate and driving becomes hazardous,” Dare County said in a statement. “Be sure to communicate with your accommodations provider before leaving.”
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Dare County Public Schools are closed on Tuesday. Carteret County Schools announced Monday that school would dismiss three hours early on Tuesday “due to possible high winds from Hurricane Maria.”
The ferry from Cedar Island to Ocracoke and back at 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. were canceled on Monday, according to the N.C. Department of Transportation Ferry Division.
Maria is expected to pass about 150 miles southeast of Dare County creating high winds, ocean and sound overwash, and flooding, according to the statement.
“Motorists should proceed with caution, drive slowly through standing water, and stay off Highway 12 during periods of high tide,” according to the statement.
The Outer Banks could see up to 2 inches of rain through Wednesday, according to the National Hurricane Center. Maria is expected to weaken to a tropical storm Tuesday night or Wednesday.
The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water is expected to reach the following heights above ground if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide.
Dangerous ocean conditions, including large waves and life threatening rip currents, also are expected.