State and eastern North Carolina counties are urging people to stay inside and avoid traveling as Hurricane Sandy continues to lash the coastal region with heavy winds and severe flooding.
“So far, we’ve been fortunate as we have not had reports of severe damage from Hurricane Sandy,” said Doug Hoell, the state’s emergency management director. “But this is still a slow-moving, powerful storm that could impact North Carolina well into next week. People need to continue monitoring this storm, stay inside and not put their lives or the lives of others at risk by going outside or trying to travel.”
Hurricane Sandy’s impacts were being felt throughout eastern North Carolina Sunday afternoon. The hurricane has forced state and local officials to:
• Close N.C. 12 in Dare County due to sand and water overwash. Soundside flooding north of Ocracoke left between 18 inches and 24 inches of standing water on N.C. 12 north of Ocracoke. The N.C. Department of Transportation will be deploying crews to work on sand removal and further assess the roadway.
• Open shelters in Carteret and Pamlico counties. The two shelters are housing a total of 33 people.
• Suspended most N.C. Department of Transportation’s ferry services until conditions improved. NCDOT road information is available by calling 511 or online at www.ncdot.gov/travel.
Fortunately, there have been only scattered reports in eastern North Carolina of power outages. No injuries due to the storm have been reported.
Sandy was still a Category 1 storm Sunday afternoon but most of the winds impacting eastern North Carolina were tropical storm force winds.
State emergency management and local officials are monitoring the storm closely. It’s expected to exit North Carolina late Monday afternoon before making landfall sometime Tuesday in the Delaware area. However, the hurricane’s winds and rain could bring wintry weather as far south as the North Carolina’s mountains.
State emergency management officials were working with county officials to position resources to respond as soon as Hurricane Sandy leaves North Carolina.
Approximately, 75 North Carolina National Guard soldiers were prepositioned to respond to the storm if needed. State Highway Patrol troopers were placed on standby to close the Oregon Inlet Bridge, and officials with the NCDOT were to be deployed to work on sand removal and more assessments of N.C. 12 as well as other roadways. State emergency management officials will also be working with local officials to respond to needs for debris removal from roadways after the storm has passed.