N.C. 12 remains closed on Pea Island; nor’easter becomes Subtropical Storm Melissa

Multiple vehicles got stuck trying to cross the overwash at S-Turns north of Rodanthe. [Waters Edge Rodanthe/Facebook photo]

N.C. 12 remains closed between Oregon Inlet and Rodanthe due to severe overwash. And forecasters say the nor’easter producing the wind and waves causing the flooding has now become Subtropical Storm Melissa.

After multiple vehicles trapped in the sand and salt water at S-Turns by Thursday night’s high tide were cleared, several more tried to pass through on Friday morning and got stuck.

Saltwater from the ocean has also covered N.C. 12 in the Kinnakeet Shores area of Avon and washed across the highway at the motels on the north end of Buxton.

“Motorists should avoid driving through standing or rushing water and should not drive around barricades or signs, as these are put in place for peoples’ safety,” said NCDOT spokesperson Tim Hass. “Most flood-related drownings occur when someone drives through standing or rushing water.”

The N.C. Department of Transportation said earlier Friday that they expect to reopen N.C. 12 on Pea Island by 6 p.m. But the overwash is not predicted to end anytime soon.

“Crews will be working diligently to clear the roadway when conditions permit, but each high tide cycle brings ocean overwash and sand back onto the highway. Even when open, motorists should proceed with extreme caution and never drive into floodwaters,” Hass said.

The most likely time of overwash will be with the high tide Friday around 7 p.m., and on Saturday around 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Just north of Rodanthe on Thursday evening. [Photo by Kristina Daugherty]

Seas will run between 10 to 14 feet just offshore from Cape Hatteras north, and a high surf advisory has been posted until Saturday morning for breaking waves of 6 to 9 feet onshore.

South of Cape Hatteras, seas will run 6 to 9 feet and an onshore break of 4 to 6 feet.

Some minor water rises on the soundside in Hatteras and Ocracoke villages have also been reported, with several inches of standing water reported on Back Road in Ocracoke.

Cape Hatteras elementary and secondary schools were closed on Friday, and Outer Banks Family Medicine in Avon closed at noon.

The nor’easter centered southeast of New England producing the high surf and gusty winds this week gained enough characteristics overnight to be classified as hybrid system known as a subtropical storm.

“The expected magnitude of wind and coastal flooding impacts along portions of the U.S. east coast from the mid-Atlantic states to southeastern New England has not changed,” the National Hurricane Center said Friday in the first advisory issued for Melissa.

The center of the storm was located 190 miles south of Nantucket, Mass. with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph. Winds of 40 mph extend outward up to 345 miles from the center.

“Melissa is expected to gradually weaken and begin moving away from the U.S. east coast by tonight, resulting in a gradual decrease in wind and coastal flooding impacts,” according to the NHC.

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.

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