Vis­i­tors aban­don va­ca­tions as Maria nears Caroli­nas

Truro Daily News - - WORLD -

Thou­sands of vis­i­tors aban­doned their va­ca­tion plans and left North Carolina’s Outer Banks ahead of Hur­ri­cane Maria as it moved north­ward in the At­lantic, churn­ing up surf and pos­si­ble flooding.

The hur­ri­cane that bat­tered the U.S. ter­ri­tory of Puerto Rico last week has weak­ened, with max­i­mum sus­tained winds Tues­day near 120 kilo­me­tres per hour. The U.S. Na­tional Hur­ri­cane Cen­ter said Maria was ex­pected to keep weaken into a trop­i­cal storm Tues­day night or Wed­nes­day.

While Maria’s eye re­mained far off­shore — cen­tred about 285 kilo­me­tres south­east of Cape Hat­teras, North Carolina, Tues­day and mov­ing north at 11 kph — a trop­i­cal storm warn­ing was in ef­fect for a swath of the North Carolina coast, from Bogue In­let to the Vir­ginia bor­der, and the hur­ri­cane cen­tre warned of a storm surge from Ocra­coke In­let to Cape Hat­teras.

In North Carolina, of­fi­cials es­ti­mated more than 10,000 vis­i­tors com­plied with evac­u­a­tion or­ders for Hat­teras and Ocra­coke, both bar­rier is­lands jut­ting into the At­lantic.

Dare County Emer­gency Man­age­ment Di­rec­tor Drew Pear­son said it was hard to de­ter­mine ex­actly how many peo­ple had left Hat­teras Is­land, but of­fi­cials believe be­tween 10,000 and 12,500 peo­ple were headed out.

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