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'Hopefully it clears out' | North Carolina crews clearing Outer Banks highway ahead of inclement weather

Bulldozers on Pea Island moved sand from the ocean-facing dunes to the other side of NC 12 to begin the long weekend.
Credit: WVEC

NAGS HEAD, N.C. — High winds and stormy weather have put a damper on the start of Memorial Day weekend on the Outer Banks.

By mid-week ahead of the unofficial start to summer, crews with the North Carolina Department of Transportation began clearing blown sand from the roadway of Highway 12 toward Rodanthe.

“We haven’t had any rain to speak of, so sand is just blowing off the dunes onto the roadways. So it’s just about putting it back where it belongs," Tim Hass said, communications director for NCDOT's Division 1 and the department's ferry services. 

While the earliest obstacles from mother nature were limited to wind blowing sand off some dune stretches like on Pea Island, forecasts for more rain and wind elevate the chances of seeing overwash and flooding from the Roanoke Sound. 

“Just the fact it’s Memorial Day weekend is unfortunate," Hass said. 

Crews are staged in Buxton, Hatteras, and Ocracoke according to Hass to respond to any changing conditions along the seashore. 

Tourism leaders told 13News Now there isn’t an exact way to measure visitors for Memorial Day weekend for the total area. Data from Dare County’s tourism authority cited roughly a quarter million recreational visits to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore in May 2022. 

“Yes the first few days will be bad, hopefully, it clears out," Hass said. 

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