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High tides, coastal flooding forces families to wait hours for NC-12 to clear on Outer Banks

Hatteras Island's increased coastal flooding created a major issues for families and business owners.

BUXTON, N.C. — High tides caused some major issues in the Outer Banks. On Sunday, waves of seawater crashed into the Cape Hatteras Motel in Buxton, North Carolina.

“We expect this issue to continue for 24 to 36 hours, said motel co-owner, Jan Dawson. "The tide is rolling through now.” 

Dawson went to social media to show how bad the flooding got around her motel.

“Our first priority is the safety of our guests," Dawson said. "So we have been dealing with that, asking them not to go out on the oceanfront, closing off the oceanfront part of our property, making sure that people that aren’t supposed to be around there are not there.” 

Dawson estimated the high tides were from Hurricane Teddy.

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“Even though it’s a thousand miles off shore, we’re not getting a direct hit or anything like that, it is a big storm and it will bring a lot of wave action,” said Dawson.

The waves did manage to wash out Hatteras Island’s major roadway, NC-12, through most of Sunday. The highway was closed for hours.

“It was very flooded - a lot of the sand dunes were down," said vacationer, Mindy Napier. "I have never seen it like that, ever, and I went there last year two weeks after a hurricane and it wasn’t that bad.” 

Napier and her family waited in their car for about 6 hours before making their way home to Charlotte, North Carolina.

Dawson is staying optimistic, as it’s still a busy tourist season on the Outer Banks.

“Right now, we’re hoping this is it and we’re just going to move forward, and this is a wonderful place to be in the fall," she said. "You can social distance very easily here.”

Dawson hoped the water will go down this week. She recommended drivers not attempt driving through the sea water, based on concerns about them becoming stranded, and salt water damaging their vehicles.

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