Parts of Craven County are expected to see flooding later this week as Hurricane Maria skirts the eastern N.C. coast.
The National Weather Service has issued a storm surge watch for an area stretching from Cape Lookout to Duck, which includes Havelock and New Bern. A storm surge watch indicates the possibility of inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline somewhere within the specified area, generally within 48 hours.
Tropical Storm Warnings have been issued for Carteret, Hyde, Dare, and Tyrrell counties. A tropical storm warning means tropical storm conditions are expected in the warning area within 36 hours.
Craven County Emergency Services Director Stanley Kite said residents in the New Bern area could expect to see minor flooding at Union Point Park and along East Front Street as well as along Jack Smith Creek on National Avenue. Kite said the flooding would likely extend to the Sandy Point community near Bridgeton and along Clubfoot Creek in Havelock.
“We’re probably looking at two to four feet of water at most,” said Kite. “This will mostly just be some nuisance flooding along the streets and roads, we’re not expecting anything beyond that right now.”
Hurricane Maria continues to lose strength as it moves north. According to the National Hurricane Center, at 11 a.m. Monday Maria was located at 31.2N 72.9W about 315 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph, making it a Category 1 storm.
Current forecasts show Maria brushing the North Carolina coast Wednesday morning.
"It is likely that some direct impacts will occur along portions of the coast by midweek," the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory Sunday.
Once Maria passes the Outer Banks Wednesday, forecasts call for a cold front pushing toward the East Coast to send the storm on a sharp right turn well out into the Atlantic on Thursday and Friday.
Maria's most devastating effects came when the storm slammed parts of the Caribbean, especially the islands of Dominica and Puerto Rico. Roofs across Dominica were torn away and at least 27 were killed on the island, with more still missing.
Kite said locally he expected the biggest impact from the storm surge would be felt today through Wednesday. He cautioned residents in the affected areas to remain updated on the latest storm tracking information.
“Just be observant. If this storm shifts west at all that could have a major impact on the flooding forecasts,” he said.