The window of opportunity for evacuation is rapidly closing. Dare County Emergency Management strongly warns everyone to take advantage of the remaining hours of daylight and evacuate immediately.
Gale force winds will enter our area throughout the evening and by Saturday morning Dare County will experience hurricane force winds with serious potential to cause structural damage, power outages, flooding, and impassable roads throughout all of Dare County.
Those who do not evacuate should expect consequences. Be prepared to sustain your household for at least 72 hours. There could also be extreme hazards and a major disruption of all services for a prolonged period of time. During the high winds expected during this storm, emergency personnel will not be able to respond to calls for help.
Dare County evacuees are advised to use Highway 64 West through Manns Harbor because roads to the north may be extremely congested due to the evacuation of low-lying areas in Norfolk, Virginia.
As of 5 PM, the center of Hurricane Irene is located about 265 miles south-southwest of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, has winds near 100 miles per hour, and was moving to the north at 14 miles per hour. Irenes outer bands are bringing rain and thunderstorms to Hatteras Island already, and will continue to move northward overnight.
The center of Irene is expected to make landfall as a category 2 hurricane early Saturday morning in eastern North Carolina, most likely near or just east of Morehead City. Hurricane conditions are expected for much of Saturday along the Outer Banks, with parts of Highway 12 likely to be washed out from storm surge and waves on top of that surge.
There have been several dune breaches between Fricso and Hatteras from storm surge, and water from rainfall is settling on the roads. The sound water is receding slightly and wind speeds are steadily increasing. The storm is expected to continue to decrease in strength as it nears the Island, however, could still have severe flooding effects. We will continue to update storm information throughout the evening and well into tomorrow as long as we maintain power and Internet.