UPDATED: Isaias becomes a hurricane once again

The beach in Kill Devil Hills ahead of Isaias. [Kari Pugh photo]

Isaias once again achieved hurricane status Monday evening as the center was moving just off the South Carolina coastline, heading for a likely landfall near Wilmington.

Data from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft and NOAA Doppler radars indicated just before 9 p.m. that the maximum sustained winds associated with Hurricane Isaias had increased to 85 mph with higher gusts. The minimum pressure measured by the plane was 988 millibars.

A tornado watch has also been issued for all of eastern North Carolina until 6 a.m. Tuesday.

There have already been reports of damaging tornadoes on Bald Head Island at the tip of Cape Fear and in Brunswick County on the southeast N.C. coast.

Live video from Frying Pan Shoals Light Tower, 25 miles off Cape Fear and just east of the projected path of the center of Isaias:

While the biggest threat to the Outer Banks continues to be deadly rip currents and the potential for ocean overwash and soundside storm surge beginning Tuesday morning, tropical storm force winds, heavy rainfall, and a few tornadoes are also possible.

“Whether it’s labeled a tropical storm or a hurricane, you should take this storm seriously,” said Governor Roy Cooper during a press conference Monday. “Make sure your family is ready. And that includes taking care of your pets too.”

A tropical storm warning is posted for the eastern half of North Carolina, while a storm surge warning is in effect from Oregon Inlet to the Virginia border and includes the Pamlico and Albemarle sounds and adjacent waters.

The latest peak wind forecast predicts 35-45 mph sustained winds and gusts up to 60 mph expected along the Outer Banks. The highest winds will be early Tuesday morning through Tuesday afternoon.

“Ocean conditions will worsen and tornadoes remain a possibility,” said Dare County Emergency Management Director Drew Pearson. “Storm surge inundation may reach 2-to-4 feet above normally dry ground.”

Dune run-ups andMinor ocean overwash was reported with this evening’s high tide around Buxton, and also along the south-facing beaches of Frisco, Hatteras and Ocracoke.

“Secure outdoor items and move vehicles and property from flood prone areas especially in areas flooded by southerly winds and near vulnerable ocean dune structures on Hatteras Island,” Pearson said.

“Soundside water levels can be monitored at https://fiman.nc.gov/,” Pearson added. “As conditions deteriorate overnight, it will be important to keep your cell phone charged and turned on with public safety alerts enabled.”

Water levels along the sounds, adjacent rivers and creeks are already high in many places, particularly from Manteo to Kitty Hawk.

The latest storm surge model data indicated peak water levels will be experienced around 9 a.m. at Rodanthe, Swan Quarter, Belhaven and Stumpy Point, 10 a.m. in Wanchese, Manteo and Nags Head, 11 a.m. for Colington, Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk, and around noon along Currituck County and in Elizabeth City, Hertford, Edenton.

Live video of Queen Elizabeth Street in Downtown Manteo:

Dare County Control Group Bulletin #5, Monday, August 3, 5:30 p.m.:

Tropical storm force winds are expected to reach the Outer Banks this evening and bring ocean and soundside flooding along with a chance of tornadoes.  Now is the time to make final preparations. Secure all outdoor furnishings, trash cans and any loose items. 

Ocean overwash of 2 to 4 feet above normally dry ground is anticipated in vulnerable areas on Hatteras Island. Soundside flooding is expected in areas on the northern beaches that are impacted by southerly winds. Now is the time to move vehicles and other property in flood-prone areas to higher ground.

As weather conditions deteriorate overnight, avoid travel. Sand and water can quickly accumulate on roadways causing dangerous and impassable conditions. 

With the risk of tornadoes for our area, be sure to have multiple ways to receive warnings. Keep your cell phone charged and turned on before you go to sleep. Be sure your wireless emergency alerts are enabled. If you receive a tornado warning, take action – shelter on the lowest floor in an interior room or hallway away from windows. For more information, visit ready.gov/safety/tornado.

A Tropical Storm Warning and Storm Surge Warning remain in effect for our area and a High Surf Advisory will become effective early Tuesday morning. It is important to continue to monitor the local forecast. For updated watches and warnings from the National Weather Service, visit www.weather.gov/mhx. Follow them on Twitter @NWSMoreheadCity.

Soundside water levels can be monitored at https://fiman.nc.gov/

Be sure to sign up to receive emergency alerts directly from Dare County Emergency Management, if you have not already done so. Remember to complete your profile by including both a home and business address so you can be reached with emergency information for specific geographic areas. Visit www.darenc.com/alerts  

Weather conditions are expected to improve by Tuesday morning, as the storm moves past and heads to the north-northeast. Damage assessments will be made as soon as conditions allow during daylight hours and local officials will provide an update regarding reentry to Hatteras Island on Tuesday afternoon, once the assessment is completed. 

Dare County

Dare County Offices north of Oregon Inlet will be open on Tuesday, but offices on Hatteras Island will remain closed.  

Due to the potential threat of hazardous conditions as a result of hurricane/tropical storm Isaias, District Court scheduled for Tuesday August 4, 2020 in Dare County has been cancelled. The Dare County Clerk of Courts will be continuing all cases with new court dates posted by Friday August 7, 2020. If you have any questions about your new court date you can call the Clerk of Courts Office on Friday between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm, email your questions to darecountyclerk@nccourts.org. or sign up for court date alerts via text or email at https://www3.nccourts.org/onlineservices/notifications/menu.sp

All court scheduled for Wednesday August 5, 2020 will operate on a normal schedule. 

Due to high wind expectations, trash collection that would normally take place on Tuesday, August 4 will now take place on Wednesday, August 5 for the following areas- the residential areas of Manteo (outside Town limits), Wanchese, Skyco, Manns Harbor, East Lake and Stumpy Point.

In addition to the modified trash collection schedule, the Manns Harbor Transfer Station, the C&D Landfill, and the Buxton Transfer Station will be closed on Tuesday, August 4.

Town of Duck

The Town of Duck administrative office will be opening at 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 4. We continue to ask people to call or email so that we may assist you with remote service as appropriate. If you have an emergency, please call 911.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter or our website for additional Duck information.

Town of Southern Shores

Tropical Storm Isaias—potential storm surge may result in sound side flooding. Now is the time to take any precautions necessary.

The Tuesday, August 4, 2020 Council Meeting has been cancelled and all agenda items (except debris monitoring contract) have been moved to the next meeting, scheduled for August 18, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. in the Pitts Center, 5377 N. Virginia Dare Trail, Southern Shores, NC 27949.

Town of Kitty Hawk 

The Town of Kitty Hawk has declared a State of Emergency in advance of the storm and continues to monitor the progress of Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaias.

After your trash has been collected, please make every effort to roll-in and secure your trash bin. 

At this time, the Town Council Meeting scheduled for this evening at 6:00 pm will be held as planned.

While there is no evacuation ordered, individuals should be responsible for preparations to prevent flood damage to vehicles, other property and ensure the safety of family members. 

Town of Kill Devil Hills

The Town of Kill Devil Hills’ offices and the Dry Trash Drop Off and Recycle Center will open at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 4, 2020; however, due to COVID-19, all offices are accessible by appointment only. If you have business with the Town call, email, or visit our website for assistance.

Please take the time to finish any last minute preparations to ensure your safety and the protection of your property.

When disaster threatens, one of the most important things you can do is to be aware and stay informed. For this reason, it is crucial that you have multiple ways to receive warning information.

As conditions deteriorate overnight, it will be important to keep your phone charged and your Wireless Emergency Alerts turned on. In addition, sign up to receive emergency alert notifications from Kill Devil Hills and Dare County www.kdhnc.com/772. Listen to EAS, NOAA Weather Radio or local alerting systems for current emergency information and instructions.

We encourage you to visit and follow our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/townofkdh) and website (www.kdhnc.com/438/News) for the latest storm updates and for any changes in Kill Devil Hills’ regular services schedule.

Stay safe and DO NOT walk on or drive onto water-covered roads. Entering a flooded area risks your life and the lives of people that may be sent to rescue you.

  • If you’re in a flood prone area, consider moving your vehicles to higher ground well before storm begins.

  • Secure all refuse containers on your property and be sure to tie down or bring inside any unsecured lawn items.

  •  Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn around, don’t drown!

  • Soundside water levels can be monitored at https://fiman.nc.gov/

Town of Nags Head 

Our area will begin to see tropical storm impacts such as flooding and tornadoes overnight tonight. Make sure you have multiple ways to receive emergency alerts (text alerts, social media, NOAA weather radio). Be sure your phone is charged and your notifications are turned on.    

If you are on the soundside in Nags Head, move your vehicles and other equipment to higher ground. Don’t be surprised by how high 2-4 feet above ground is.

Also, we expect the Nags Head to Manteo causeway/US 64 to flood at some point. Don’t drive through floodwaters. Flooding is one of the deadliest types of hazards NC experiences. Stay safe and DO NOT walk on or drive onto water-covered roads. Entering a flooded area risks your life and the lives of people that may be sent to rescue you. When water rushes over a street, it can hide dips, debris, and pavement that has been washed away. In addition, just six inches of water can flood your car’s exhaust, leaving you immobile.

Town of Manteo

The Town of Manteo is completing storm preparations on Monday afternoon, including trash pickup. Bay Disposal has postponed recycling service from Tuesday to Wednesday. Please secure roll carts, trash cans, and loose items. Weather conditions are expected to deteriorate Monday evening and into Tuesday, including high winds, rain, and flooding. We are under a Tropical Storm Warning and a Storm Surge Warning, which is predicting 2-4 feet of flooding. Please relocate property or vehicles that are in flood-prone areas. For your safety, DO NOT enter floodwaters. Turn around, don’t drown. For the latest information, visit the National Weather Service site at weather.gov/mhx or go to Dare County’s dedicated Isaias website at darenc.com/isaias.

National Park Service

Cape Hatteras National Seashore
All facilities at Cape Hatteras National Seashore are closed. To view the most up-to-date information and conditions for Cape Hatteras National Seashore, go to: https://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/operational-status-report.htm.  

Wright Brothers National Memorial
Wright Brothers National Memorial is closed. The park will reopen after post-storm assessments are completed. To view the most up-to-date information and conditions for Wright Brothers National Memorial, go to: https://www.nps.gov/wrbr/planyourvisit/operational-status-report.htm.

The next update will be issued no later than 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 4. 

About Sam Walker 1512 Articles
Sam Walker was news director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, Big 94.5 WCMS and Z 92.3 from August 2011 to March 2022.