HATTERAS ISLAND, N.C. - A mandatory evacuation order for all visitors on Hatteras Island has been issued by the Dare County Control Group.
The evacuation will go into effect beginning at noon Monday.
"Visitors on Hatteras Island should pack all of their belongings and depart as soon as possible, before conditions deteriorate and driving becomes hazardous." Dare County Emergency Management officials said in a press release. "Be sure to communicate with your accommodations provider before leaving."
Hurricane Maria will pass about 150 miles southeast of Dare County bringing significant impacts including high winds for a long duration, and significant ocean and sound overwash and flooding. It is likely that roads will become impassable for extended periods and emergency response may be limited at the height of the storm.
Officials warn all motorists to proceed with caution, drive slowly through standing water, and stay off Highway 12 during periods of high tide. Soundside flooding is also expected, particularly for the southernmost villages of Hatteras Island.
"Now is the time to ensure you are ready by taking personal planning and preparations seriously – ensure that your emergency kit is properly stocked and that your emergency plan is ready to implement," officials said.
For preparedness tips and information, visit www.readync.org. If you or someone you know has special medical needs and may need assistance, officials suggest calling the Dare County Department of Health & Human Services, Social Services Division at 252.475.5500 to register.
The office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. To receive email updates from Dare County Emergency Management , subscribe at their website here and follow @DareCountyEM on Twitter.