DARE COUNTY, N.C. – Following a mandatory evacuation of Ocracoke Island, officials also issued a mandatory evacuation for visitors on Hatteras Island effective at 12 p.m. Monday.
The Dare County Department of Emergency Management made the announcement in a release on Monday morning, ahead of Hurricane Maria’s offshore arrival.
Hatteras Island visitors were told to pack their belongings and leave the island as soon as possible before conditions deteriorate and driving becomes hazardous.
Hurricane Maria is expected to bring high winds and significant flooding and overwash from both the ocean and sound sides.
During a state of emergency, all NC DOT ferry reservations are canceled and tolls are waived. Boarding the ferries will be on a first come first serve basis. Hyde County officials said that Monday night may be the last night that they are able to run ferry services until the effects of Maria pass.
A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued ahead of Hurricane Maria for a portion of the North Carolina coast, from Cape Lookout to Duck, including the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for north of Duck to the North Carolina/Virginia border and north of Surf City to south of Cape Lookout.
Maria has weakened to a Category 1 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center.
As of 11 a.m. Monday, Maria was about 315 miles SSE of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and is expected to move towards the north though Tuesday. Maria is forecast to remain offshore but near the Outer Banks by the middle of the week.
Tidal flooding is possible Tuesday night and Wednesday.
Reports from reconnaissance aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds are near 80 mph with higher gusts. Additional weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Maria is expected to weaken to a tropical storm by Tuesday night.
Maria made landfall near Yabucoa, Puerto Rico as a strong category 4 storm around 6:15 a.m. Wednesday.
If you or someone you know has special medical needs and may need assistance, please call the Dare County Department of Health & Human Services, Social Services Division at 252-475-5500.