Mandatory evacuations underway for Outer Banks

Updated: Sep. 3, 2019 at 7:14 PM EDT
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NAGS HEAD, NC (WWBT) - Mandatory evacuations are underway in the Outer Banks as Hurricane Dorian makes its way up the coast.

Dare County leaders ordered visitors to evacuate starting at noon Tuesday. Residents are under a mandatory evacuation starting at 6 a.m. Wednesday.

The Outer Banks is likely to start seeing the effects of Dorian as early as Thursday morning. As a result some businesses have prepared for any sort of impacts the storm will bring. Hotels were bringing balcony chairs inside and tying down pool chairs on the outside.

“I'll give it until tomorrow night then I'll make a final decision,” said Carol, of the Outer Banks.

Carol said she’s hunkered down in storms before but has still prepared for whatever impacts Dorian may bring.

"Everything is boarded up, I have food, watching the weather," she said.

“[We’ve been] building levees for people’s houses that are going to get flooded out if that thing comes behind the back end of the sound because it’s going to get really bad,” said Max Fry, who works in OBX during the summer. “Picking stuff up off the ground and putting boards on houses.”

However, most homes along the beach still provided a clear view of the ocean Tuesday afternoon.

The beach itself seeing plenty of activity as well.

“It’s beautiful, right?” said Andrea Weis, of Ashland. “I mean look at it, we’ve got the beach to ourselves. So, this is perfect.”

While visitor evacuations went into effect at noon, Weis said they couldn't help but come to the beach for a little more sunshine.

“It was more crowded this morning,” she added. “So up until lunch time the beach was pretty crowded, but this afternoon it’s empty.”

Weis came down Saturday to the Outer Banks for a family reunion. They were supposed to stay until Saturday, but now with Dorian traveling up the coast they may have to cut their trip short.

"Look at it tonight, let the traffic die down a little, reassess tonight,” Weis said. “Maybe leave tonight or first thing in the morning."

Students in Dare County returned to school Tuesday, but most school systems have canceled for the rest of the week due to evacuation in place for residents.

Based on its current path as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, the Outer Banks could start to feel the effects of Dorian as early as 8 a.m. Thursday in terms of wind and rain.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has activated more than 300 National Guard soldiers to help with storm response.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has prepared for 1,000 chainsaws, more than 3,000 barricades and 2,700 high water signs to deploy for the storm.

As visitors and residents evacuate from the Outer Banks, the City of Chesapeake has suspended tolls northbound (only) on Route 168 effective 12 p.m. Tuesday. Tolls will remain suspended until further notice.

Red flags have also been placed on beaches urging people to stay out of the water due to a high risk of rip currents.

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