North Carolina Getting Ready for Major Hurricane Florence
Florence has been upgraded to a Hurricane and is on track to hit the East Coast as a major storm. Some estimates are ranging from a category 3 all the way up to a 5 by the time it reaches land. Putting this storm into perspective historically: Since 1851, only four Category 4 hurricanes have made landfall North of Florida on the East Coast. Currently, NOAA’s model puts Wilmington in the Crosshairs but there’s still a few days of uncertainty just how straight and narrow that path will hold true. At noon today (September 10) The National Weather Service has upgraded Florence to a category 4… which is capable of creating catastrophic damage. Maximum sustained winds are now at 130mph and there’s speculation that this storm is still strengthening. Coastal and Inland residents over the next 2-3 days should take Major Hurricane Florence VERY seriously and start preparing for the worst. Once the hurricane makes landfall, it’s expected to stall out for at least 24 hours causing massive flooding in both NC and VA.
A mandatory evacuation started today for Hatteras Island (see message from Dare County below). Another mandatory evacuation for Dare County is expected to start tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at 7am. Staple items such as gas, food and water are already becoming a top commodity and is expected to become scarce over the next few days. Lots of talk about going inland for cover are questionable as well. Rainfalls are estimated between 10-20″ in central North Carolina and Virginia which will cause massive flooding and power outages. An 8 hour or more drive away from the Outer Banks might be in order to escape much of the storm.
Hurricane swell has already reached the mid-atlantic region starting last Saturday. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday are expected to remain in the head to overhead range here on the Outer Banks with larger surf South of Oregon Inlet. XXL surf is expected to really fill in as early as Wednesday morning (see Kill Devil Hills “premium” forecast below). A substantial increase in surf will cause major impacts to sand dunes and structures along the coast. Red flags were up yesterday warning swimmers to not enter the ocean and will remain up for the rest of the week. A few surfers were out today and will probably try to get one more surf in tomorrow before the ocean becomes unmanageable. Waves at low tide today were breaking past the pier end. It is NOT RECOMMENDED to surf or enter the ocean if you are a beginner or novice. Know your limits and be safe.
From Dare County Emergency Management • 10:00 a.m. September 10, 2017
A state of emergency has been issued and a mandatory evacuation order for all visitors and residents on Hatteras Island will be in effect beginning Monday, September 10 at 12:00 p.m. This includes all areas of Hatteras Island including the villages of Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras Village.
A mandatory evacuation for residents and visitors in other areas of Dare County goes into effect beginning Tuesday, September 11 at 7:00 a.m. This includes the towns of Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head, Manteo; Roanoke Island; and the Dare County mainland.
The Dare County Control Group met Monday morning and has determined that a mandatory evacuation for all visitors and residents is necessary to ensure safety. Hurricane Florence is currently projected to be a category 3 or 4 storm at landfall in southeastern North Carolina and may bring life-threatening storm surge to Dare County, along with tropical storm force winds, heavy rains and the potential for tornadoes. Even a small northward shift in the track of the storm could bring devastating impacts to our area.
Everyone in Dare County is encouraged to evacuate as soon as possible regardless of the established time frames. Visitors should take all personal belongings and follow instructions from their property management company.
Those evacuating to areas north of Dare County are encouraged to consider traveling westbound on Highway 64 to Interstate 95. Evacuating through the rural areas to the west of Dare County will help avoid traffic backups and congestion that may prolong evacuation by traveling northbound through the Hampton Roads portion of Virginia. Be sure to check the weather forecast for travel conditions for the route you will be traveling and for your destination.
The state of emergency includes restrictions on swimming due to dangerous surf conditions and strong rip currents along the beaches. Everyone must stay out of the water as it is unsafe for even the most experienced swimmers.
Bulletins will periodically be issued by the Joint Information Center and the next scheduled update will be no later than 6:00 p.m. Monday. Visit www.darenc.com for updated information, videos, and relevant links to official sources.
Due to the current state of emergency, reentry passes are not being issued by Dare County Emergency Management. Non-resident property owners are reminded that permits with an April 1, 2018 expiration date remain valid through December 30. Permanent residents use a valid driver’s license with a Dare County address for reentry. A current tax bill or parcel data sheet with matching current government issued ID will also suffice. To review guidelines, visit www.darenc.com/reentry.
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