Hurricane Maria’s forecasted track shifted west over the weekend, making the storm more of a risk to the coastal regions of the state than it was previously, meaning a more significant impact in the state than expected.
While the storm is not expected to make landfall in the state it could cause storm surge flooding and dangerous currents along the coast, according to Gov. Roy Cooper.
Cooper also warned that the storm track could still shift and head closer to the coast, though it is currently expected to work its way north off the coast of the state over the next two days.
“Heavy ocean surf will be very dangerous all week,” Cooper said. “Deadly rip currents will be present and some storm surge flooding is possible. Visitors to our beaches should stay out of the water during these dangerous conditions and wait until Maria passes. Coastal residents should make sure they are ready and their homes are prepared.”
Cooper activated the State Emergency Operations Center Monday morning to monitor the storm and will be ready to respond if needed but did not declare a state of emergency for the upcoming storm.
“This activation will include Emergency Management staff who will communicate with the counties and our State Emergency Response Team partners in order to allow us to provide any needed resources,” State Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry said.
Sunday evening, the National Weather Service issued a Tropical Storm Watch from Surf City northwards to the North Carolina-Virginia border as well as Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds , and issued watches for storm surges of two to four feet above ground level from Cape Lookout to Duck, including the sound side of the Outer Banks. The storm is expected to drop from its current Category 1 status back to a tropical storm sometime Tuesday night.
While the bulk of Maria’s effect will be felt beginning Tuesday, rain from the storm is expected in the state on Monday.
Hyde County officials issued a mandatory evacuation order for visitors on Ocracoke Island, beginning at 5 a.m. Monday.
The Cape Hatteras National Seashore has also suspended all visitor services until Maria passes.
While Maria is not a very strong storm it is very large and will likely affect the state for the better of two days along the eastern region of the state.