North Carolina: Outer Banks’ only highway closes as ocean threatens to wash away cars

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Posted October 17, 2019

A storm off the East Coast is causing coastal flooding along the Outer Banks. NC 12, the only highway connecting the barrier islands, was closed temporarily early Friday as waves breached the dunes.

Department of Transportation officials tweeted they were closing N.C. 12 after travel became increasingly dangerous during high tide.

“We have moderate to severe ocean overwash in several places along NC 12 between the Basnight Bridge and Rodanthe,” NCDOT said just after 8 a.m. “As a safety precaution, we are closing that entire stretch of road until conditions improve.”

Reports on social media said some vehicles had become stuck in the area of the highway known as “the S curve” after being hit by waves.

Kyle Barniak, who lives on Hatteras Island, reported “ocean water running south on Hwy 12, about a half mile from where the dune is breached.” Stalled cars were also scattered about, after being hit by waves, he said.

Ocean overwash was also causing flooding in Avon’s Kennakett Shores area and the northern part of Buxton, OBX Today reported Friday morning.

Photos and videos posted on Facebook showed large gashes in the dunes and motorists dodging waves on the highway for at least a day.

State officials are predicting parts of N.C. 12 “will be impassable at times the next few days” due to a storm off the Mid-Atlantic.