UPDATE: Hurricane Earl: After The Storm

North Carolina's northernmost coastal county is reopening after Hurricane Earl didn't cause the damage that officials feared.

The State Emergency Response Team said Currituck County reopens at 11 a.m. Friday. The county had ordered an evacuation for visitors Thursday morning as Earl bore down on North Carolina's coast.

The evacuation order for Carteret County was lifted early Friday.

Officials in Dare and Hyde counties are still assessing damage, and most of Hyde County remained without power Friday morning.

DOT officials say, ferries to southern beaches are open. The Cherry Branch and Pamlico ferries will resume operations at 9:45 a.m.; however, ferries north of Atlantic Beach remain closed for now.

NC Highway 12 is closed south of the Oregon Inlet Bridge due to flooding and storm surge from the hurricane. DOT crews are currently working to remove sand and assess the damage to the roadway.

Drivers are urged to use extreme caution while driving in areas that have been impacted by the storm. Be aware of debris on the ground, including possibly downed power lines. Motorists should never try to drive into standing or moving water. Flood water is deceptive and filled with silt and debris that can damage a vehicle’s brakes, transmission and undercarriage.

School systems are closed in Camden, Carteret, Currituck, Dare, Hyde, and Tyrrell counties. At the peak of the storm, as many as 397 evacuees sought refuge in 16 shelters.

Perdue urged travelers to use caution as they head back to the beach and across the state as they begin their holiday weekend.

The eye of Hurricane Earl stayed off the Outer Banks as it churns up the East Coast. Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from areas along the Outer Banks and Crystal Coast on Wednesday and Thursday, but it's not clear yet when they will be able to return.

The Coast Guard planned a flyover at first light Friday to assess damage. On the ground, teams from emergency management departments have started to check for damage. So far, Dare County Emergency Management says there have been no reports of damage and no rescues.

Ocracoke Island may be the last location to which residents and tourists will be able to return; the ferries will not resume service to the island until the Pamlico Sound is calm enough to navigate safely.

The condition of Highway 12 will be a key factor in allowing people to return to the Outer Banks. Dare County Emergency Management. officials expect DOT crews to start working to clear the ocean overwash when the sun comes up. The overwash issue will continue to improve leading up to low tide at 8:44 a.m. For a list of the latest trouble spots on Highway 12, click here.

Currituck County officials expect the mandatory evacuation order for visitors on the Outer Banks section of the county to be lifted Friday. Law enforcement and fire crews went door-to-door, asking visitors to evacuate the northern area of the chain of barrier islands. Randall Edwards, the public information officer for Currituck County, says he estimates more than half of visitors heeded the call to evacuate. Edwards says a helicopter will fly over the county early Friday to assess damage, particularly in the Carova Beach area, where the water is up to the dune lines. Emergency management and law enforcement crews will be on the ground looking for damage before determining if visitors can return.

On the Crystal Coast, emergency management officials opened the bridges to the Bogue Banks at 5:30 a.m. Friday. Visitors and residents can now drive over the bridges to Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle, Indian Beach and Pine Knoll Shores.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by You people on Sep 4, 2010 at 09:08 AM
    Chill out. You were spared a devastating hurricane. Relax. Lets all joke about it. Be happy for once in your miserable life!!!
  • by jerry Location: manteo on Sep 3, 2010 at 03:37 PM
    Dang hurricane. It blew the mortgage off my neighbor`s house down onto mine and now I have two house payments.
  • by Dave Location: Pittsburgh on Sep 3, 2010 at 02:03 PM
    Hi Debbie we have a rental in Corolla and I just got an email from the managment company. They sustained very little damage from the hurricane and our house is inspected and is ready to go. I talked to them earlier today and their rep seemed very positive about the situation. I don't think you'll have any problem getting into your beach house tomorrow
  • by Debbie Location: Northern VA on Sep 3, 2010 at 10:34 AM
    Mike, we are homeowners of a beach house in Corolla. Early reports on the Whalehead section are pretty good. No significant power outages or damages or beach erosion and surprisingly no significant flooding. The Currituck county evacuation has been lifted, motorists can now cross the bridge. Uncertain about Dare county (getting down to Kitty Hawk and back up through Duck). Suggest you contact your rental company for final confirm, but overall sounds good! Weather report for Corolla tomorrow is sunny, 85 degrees.
  • by Mike Location: Upstate NY on Sep 3, 2010 at 09:07 AM
    Just seeing if anyone could comment on some ?s. We're coming down to Corolla tomorrow. Does anyone know if the surge exceeded the dunes to cause any extensive damage to beach houses, particularly in Corolla? Are beach roads passable. Did any severe backwash occur? I have heard of any extensive damage or power outages? Anyone heard anything? Thanks to anyone who can give some info!
  • by Julie Location: Camp Lejeune on Sep 3, 2010 at 08:02 AM
    Amazed and Rick, I couldn't have said it better my self. Stumpzian would probably be the first to complain that the government didn't get to him quick enough to help him and complain that taxes go up to help recover the cost to the state. Stumpzian, live on the beach and see what it is really like to wonder what is going to happen to your LIFE.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 3, 2010 at 07:44 AM
    To Stumpzian in Washington, if you have that much snow, get up off your lazy butt from in front of your computer and go shovel it, OR go help those who need help and keep your sarcasm to your selfish self.
  • by confused Location: greenville on Sep 3, 2010 at 07:28 AM
    Rick - im sorry - Im not sure who your comment is directed at?
  • by Big Red Location: Greenville on Sep 3, 2010 at 07:07 AM
    Oh, darn! A story with a somewhat happy ending, except for some washouts along NC 12 and some power outages. I guess the national media will drop this story like a lead balloon, despite the fact eastern Carolina got some much needed rain, and the damage so far has been minimal. Make the misery index on this story about a "2". If it had been 7 or greater, it would have been "breaking news" with big bold headlines on the major networks.
  • by rick Location: greenville/manteo on Sep 3, 2010 at 06:49 AM
    your sarcasm is only palatable due to the fact that you, better yet I still have power to be able to be sarcastic. Would it have made you happy to have what was a potential catastrophic storm hit our coast. Perhaps if you are "lucky enough" you will live to have everything destroyed by a hurricane. Then you can be happy about the predictions, the news coverage, and whatever else irritates about this situation. My fear is that you would be of the same group complaining that local government and the news stations did not do enough to protect you $#!....
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