Dare County urging early preparations for potential Irma impacts

DARE COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — Hurricane Irma has not made landfall in the U.S. yet, but officials in Dare County are urging residents to get ready now.

Dare County Emergency Management said in a news release Thursday the storm could bring “challenging and potentially dangerous” conditions even without a direct hit.

“They need to be making their plans, their preparation and right now, there’s a lot of uncertainty about where this thing’s going to go, and a small jog down in Florida becomes a big jog in North Carolina and it won’t take much of a move to the east, before all of the sudden, we’re in it,” said Dare County Manager Bobby Outten.

Irma is an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane that’s surging across the northeastern Caribbean. It’s expected to impact Florida over weekend — but the storm’s track after that is not set in stone.

Garry Oliver owns the Outer Banks Fishing Pier in Nags Head. He’s been worrying about the storm all week.

“We’ve been through a lot of storms. It’s something. When you own a fishing pier, you’ve got a storm coming in the Atlantic, you really get worried. Every one of them, you worry about,” he said.

On Sunday, Oliver plans to board up the windows of the restaurant on the pier. He’ll take down the pier’s light poles if it gets too windy.

“One of the main things we worry about is the ocean and the beach erosion. We’ve had a lot of erosion already this year and they’re talking about 12-foot seas and this pier’s about 18 feet over the water, so there will be water lapping up through the decking and that’s our main concern, out there over that ocean,” Oliver said. “I’ve been out to the end of this pier many times saying goodbye when I thought maybe it would be washed away, and so far, I’ve been really lucky.”

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has suspended road work on interstates to help those evacuating from Florida and Georgia. Meanwhile, NCDOT crews have prepared equipment ahead of the storm if needed.

The Coast Guard says the Captain of the Port North Carolina has set Port Condition Whiskey for the ports of Wilmington and Morehead City ahead of Irma. Click here to learn more.

Dare County was hit hard last fall when Hurricane Matthew swept across the Outer Banks.

There was damaging, costly flooding left behind up and down the area in the wake of Matthew. A part of North Carolina Highway 12 suffered overwash during the storm.