North Carolina latest to suffer in 2017 hurricane season


WAVES, N.C. (AP) — Winds and storm surge from Tropical Storm Maria lashed North Carolina’s Outer Banks on Wednesday as the storm moved by well off-shore.

Dare County Emergency Management Director Drew Pearson said in an email that the high tide early Wednesday flooded roads in the area and travel remained hazardous. Pearson said the worst problems were on Hatteras Island, where more than 10,000 visitors left under an evacuation order earlier this week.

Pearson said no injuries had been reported.

Already, the ocean had washed over parts of N.C. 12, the main road running along the Outer Banks.

The National Weather Service reported winds had increased to 70 mph (112 kph) by daybreak, about 15 miles higher than earlier in the morning.

A fine rain was falling, with patches of blue sky occasionally showing through. Police set up a check point to block all traffic heading south on N.C. 12 except for residents and reporters. Evacuations remained in place for visitors on the Hatteras and Ocracoke islands.

As the winds picked up, waves crashed up to and beyond ocean-front homes on the stretch of the highway between the unincorporated communities of Rodanthe and Avon.

The Atlantic Ocean has been washing under waterfront homes and onto side streets since Tuesday at high tide in parts of Avon, said Tony Meekins, 55, a lifelong resident.

Mother Nature keeps chopping at it,” said Meekins, an engineer on the temporarily halted Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry. “We see storm after storm.”

Standing near Avon’s closed fishing pier, Meekins said anything is possible when it comes to Maria. He said the dune line along much of this part of Hatteras is gone, pounded down by previous storms.

Water also began washing on Tuesday across sections of N.C. 12, the only road to and from Hatteras Island. A layer of wet sand remained on the road Wednesday.

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