HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Maria restrengthened to a hurricane late Wednesday morning as it began shifting further away from the coast.
Maria brought strong storm surge and tropical storm force winds to Hampton Roads and the Outer Banks. The forecast for Maria’s impact dropped as the storm turned Wednesday to the north-northeast
The US National Hurricane Center issued a tropical storm warning Tuesday evening from Bogue Inlet to the Virginia-North Carolina border and Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds. Watches and warnings were beginning to be lifted by the early afternoon hours of Wednesday.
Meteorologist Jeremy Wheeler reported that waves were up to 17 feet in the Outer Banks, along with ocean overwash and moderate tidal flooding. Winds did pick up along the Outer Banks as Maria — a tropical storm at the time — was passing along the coast.
NCDOT officials posted an update of road conditions Wednesday morning for NC-12, reporting issues with only some sand and high water.
Some areas of deep standing water and sand were reported on NC-12 south of Bonner Bridge. Motorists were asked to use extreme caution.
Tropical storm force winds were brushing the coast Wednesday, with some gusts above 40 mph reported in Cape Hatteras. The more powerful winds from Maria were expected to stay far away from the region.
Waves were creeping higher and higher — and closer to the coast — in Kitty Hawk around high tide. This storm was anticipated to cause major problems along NC-12 — especially portions in Kitty Hawk, where a beach replenishment project had to be delayed.
Schools were closed Tuesday and Wednesday in all of Dare and Currituck County because of conditions. All schools will we open on Thursday.
Gallery: Local Impacts from Hurricane Maria
Kitty Hawk Mayor Gary Perry has been a longtime advocate for beach nourishment where sand is pumped to shore. In the case of Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Nags Head this has been successful in widening some of the beach providing a better buffer for Virginia Dare Drive which runs along the ocean for high surf.
“The beach nourishment started in Southern Shores. It has come all the way down to Historic Street. Beach nourishment has not overrun the beaches and they are faring well, and the sand fences are doing beautiful,” says Mayor Perry
You can tell on the beach where it is wider where nourishment has been completed, the other places have yet to get the treatment. People also gathered on the beaches of Kitty Hawk to watch the pounding surf.
“We are just checking the waves, checking the water to see what it looks like, this is our first real hurricane, or our storm. It’s kind of cool,” says Kitty Hawk resident Matt Jenkins.
Hatteras Village and the nearby towns continue to see standing water on roads. Even as low tide approaches, the storm surge from the Pamlico Sound continues to push water onto Route 12.
In Hatteras Village just about every business shuttered it doors. 10 On Your Side spoke to several people who were trying to find an open food store; grocery or restaurant. There wasn’t much luck from Hatteras Village until we reached Buxton.
Even as the tides continued to flood Route 12, there have been no reports of the road washing away in any areas.
Most of the people we talked to, took the storm surge in stride.
“There in lies the problem,” George Armstrong, a local resident said. “When you over prepare for one, you under prepare for the next. So hopefully we don’t get in that scenario.”
Hyde County officials posted to Facebook Tuesday that evacuation efforts were suspended due to weather conditions. Officials issued mandatory evacuation orders Monday for visitors on Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. The evacuations on Hatteras were also suspended.
Conditions were much calmer at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront Wednesday afternoon. It was the best of both worlds — the surf of a tropical system with the damaging effects of a hurricane.
Winds were consistent along the Oceanfront early Wednesday, and dangerous currents were scene along the coast. But lots of people were on the beach taking pictures of the waves.
There was a little bit of rain, but mostly sunshine. Meantime, all day crews continued work to get ready for this weekend’s Neptune Festival.
“There were a lot of white caps, says Karen Muddiman from Ohio. “We were on the pier yesterday and the waves were coming up so high they were almost through the bottom of the pier. It was unreal. I wasn’t expecting to see so many waves that look so rough.”
“You can see the waves and you can feel the breeze, but thanks to God we are not in any serious danger right at this point,” adds Maria Parker in town from Georgia. “It is the best of both worlds to be right here sitting on the sides enjoying the breeze and taking in the sights.
Residents and visitors were still urged to stay out of the water. Lifeguards were monitoring the beaches on ATVs, trying to make sure people stayed out.
Officials in Norfolk were monitoring areas of the city that are prone to flooding — such as Ghent — and could flood during high tide. 10 On Your Side’s Brandi Cummings was in the Hague were flooding was calf-deep.
The water rose slowly throughout the day and started to just go down around low tide. From the Hague to Surrey Crescent and the Colonial Place neighborhood – water made several Norfolk roads impassable.
Some residents spent time moving vehicles to higher ground and trying to keep the water out of their apartments with sand bags. This is something new to Issac Baines whose in town visiting family.
“You can see the water on the floor board and everything. So I don’t know whose it is but I feel bad for them,” Says Baines. “Its crazy, being from Montana you don’t get much tides.”
City officials spend the day monitoring the water levels.
The Hampton Roads region was spared the worst of a storm that was once a major hurricane that devastated the island of Puerto Rico.