Weather forces suspension of Ocracoke evacuations as Maria churns north

Flooding along N.C. 12 in the Outer Banks as Hurricane Maria passes offshore. (David Hurst/CBS North Carolina)

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Evacuations from Ocracoke Island were suspended Tuesday morning due to weather conditions, Hyde County officials said.

Hurricane Maria is forecast to bring strong storm surge and tropical storm force winds to Hampton Roads and the Outer Banks through the middle of the week.

Maria is off the Atlantic coast as a Category 1 hurricane, with 75 mph winds, and was moving north at 7 mph.

The National Weather Service said Tuesday the storm is expected to gradually weaken as it continues northward. Maria could become a tropical storm by Tuesday night or Wednesday.

After passing North Carolina, Maria is expected to turn off to the northeast and move quickly away from the East Coast. Before leaving, however, Maria is forecast to leave some impact.

Schools were closed Tuesday in all of Dare County because of expected tropical storm conditions. Dare County includes much of the Outer Banks, as well as some inland areas along Pamlico Sound.

The National Weather Service in Morehead City, North Carolina, said rip currents were possible in the ocean for the rest of the week.

Red flags were in place at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront Monday, and were likely to stay up through the week.

The hurricane center issued a tropical storm warning from Cape Lookout north up the coast to the Virginia line.

Scattered showers are expected Tuesday into Wednesday, with waves 8 feet to 15 feet near the shore. Winds in Hampton Roads are expected to gust between 30 and 40 mph.

In the Outer Banks, coastal wind gusts could be as high as 60 mph. Ocean overwash and waves up to 18 feet are also concerns, along with moderate tidal flooding.

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