Forecast dials back prospects for winds today
Earlier forecasts had called for higher winds and gusts up to 60 mph. Tropical storm conditions are still in the forecast, however.
Hurricane Sandy picked up speed as it headed northwest this morning after pummeling the Outer Banks all day Sunday.
Overnight, waves of 10 to 15 knocked out a section in the Middle of the Avalon Fishing Pier in Kill Devil Hills.
Big surf has taken out parts of N.C. 12 at Mirlo Beach and near the bridge over the inlet cut by Hurricane Irene last year in the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, emergency management said.
Before the weather turned ugly, the North Carolina Department of Transportation sent extra equipment to Hatteras Island to deal with ocean overwash and blowing sand on N.C. 12, which has been closed all day.
“NCDOT will continue working to clear the road, assess damage and make repairs to reopen it as quickly as possible,” emergency management said in a statement.
The department of transportation also said on its website that inspectors found that the Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet was considered unsafe for traffic during the storm. No other details were available.
“Divers and inspectors will resume inspection of the bridge as soon as conditions allow,” the NCDOT statement said.
When winds shift overnight to the west and northwest, sound waters are expected inundate the back side of the barrier islands with 4 to 6 feet and as much as 7 feet in some spots, the National Weather Service Office in Morehead City said.
The Island Free Press reported widespread flooding already on Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. Editor Irene Nolan said water was coming from the ocean and the Pamlico Sound.
Heavy surf of 10 to 15 feet continued to grind at dunes, and storm surge on the ocean side is forecast to be 4 to 6 feet above ground level. High tide will be at 8 a.m. Monday.Flooded roads have been reported in South Nags Head, Kitty Hawk and Colington.
“Kitty Hawk Police are asking motorists to avoid traveling N.C .12 in Kitty Hawk due to damaging debris, standing saltwater and sand,” the emergency management statement said.
Power will be out in Hatteras village until at least Monday morning. Scattered outages throughout other parts of the area have also been reported.
The Carolina coast up to Duck is under a tropical storm warning. Ferry service from Hatteras to Ocracoke has been suspended.
By 11 p.m., the center of the storm was headed northeast at 14 mph about 290 miles east of Cape Hatteras, the National Hurricane Center said. It is forecast to turn north, then hook left and onto the coastline of New Jersey sometime Tuesday.
The National Weather Service office in Morehead City forecast the possibility of tropical storm conditions continuing through Monday night with rain and winds exceeding 39 mph. Tuesday will continue to be windy.Although the center of Hurricane Sandy was more than 200 miles away from Cape Hatteras, wind gusts of 50 mph or more were being recorded along the Outer Banks. The hurricane center reported sustained winds of 47 mph and a gust of 56 mph at a National Ocean Service Station at Cape Hatteras.
Day broke with winds of 30 to 40 mph and gusts of 50 mph and more. The trend continued throughout the day.
At 5:12 a.m., the Duck pier recorded a wind gust of 47 knots, which is about 54 mph. The top gust in Manteo was 53 mph at 4:35 a.m. and sustained winds were running between 32 and 38 mph just before daybreak. Tropical storm force is 39 mph or more.
A buoy off Oregon Inlet recorded wave heights of 22.6 feet at 6:20 a.m.
On Friday, Gov. Beverly Perdue declared a state of emergency for 38 counties, including Dare, Hyde and Currituck. Her executive order allows the state to seek federal help.
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