January 24 2018

Mandatory evacuation ordered for Ocracoke Island

January 24 2018, 01:52 | Van Peters

Hurricane Maria creating swells along East Coast

Ocracoke Island under mandatory evacuation order

Maria is 425 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

Maria has caused widespread damage in the Caribbean, hitting several areas already affected by Hurricane Irma like Haiti.

As of Monday morning, Hyde County emergency services director Jason Gibbs said that 225 people had evacuated Ocracoke Island since the 5 a.m. order went into effect.

First Warn Storm Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich says the hurricane's shift will mean the Outer Banks will be under a greater threat for "some tropical storm force conditions". The East Coast from North Carolina northward will still get high seas and rough surf. Forecast models have been shifting slightly west with Maria getting closer the Outer Banks of NC.

Maria is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 1 to 2 inches over the Outer Banks of North Carolina through Wednesday.

Rain still looks to be the least of our worries with Maria...especially with it staying farther offshore.

Loose outdoor items should be brought inside to prevent them from being tossed around in the wind and becoming unsafe projectiles. Forecasters expect Maria to veer eastward into the open Atlantic later this week.

Like its predecessor, Hurricane Jose, Maria is likely to increase swell along the coast, which, in turn, will generate large surf and unsafe rip currents.

Wrightsville Beach saw more than 25 rescues because of rip currents Saturday.

Mostly sunny, with a high near 86.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper released a statement Monday urging coastal residents and tourists to be prepared for heavy ocean surf, deadly rip currents and possibly storm surge flooding.

"People should avoid standing on jetties, due to the risk of sneaker waves", Sosnowski said.

Authorities in the town of Vega Alta on the north coast said Saturday they had been unable to reach an entire neighborhood called Fatima, and were particularly anxious about residents of a nursing home.

"The storm track is not good for eastern North Carolina", the NPS said, "and the National Weather Service is advising to prepare for this storm, especially for vulnerable area such as the barrier islands".

However, there may still be a chance for unsafe rip currents along the coast.

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