Evacuations are already being issued in parts of the Carolinas ahead of Hurricane Florence, which has strengthened to a Category 4 and may be close to that strength when it makes landfall. More evacuations may be coming. The storm is currently expected to make landfall around Thursday, but hurricane paths are always a bit unpredictable. Read on for details about evacuation zones and maps for South Carolina in 2018, as Hurricane Florence approaches, so you can be prepared. This is a developing story.
(For an updated post, see Heavy’s story here.)
What To Do If You’re Evacuating
Some North Carolina coastal areas already began issuing evacuation orders on Monday, including Hatteras Island, Charlotte Observer reported. It is possible that coastal counties in the region will be completely evacuated before the storm.
Evacuation orders as of Monday include: Dare County, Currituck County (the Outer Banks communities of Corolla and Carova starting Tuesday at 7 a.m.), Hyde County (for island visitors and residents beginning Tuesday at 5 a.m.), Brunswick County (residents in low-lying and flood-prone areas), Bertie County (voluntary for waterfront and low-lying areas beginning Wednesday), New Hanover County (mandatory for the University of North Carolina at Wilmington), Onslow County (voluntary for unincorporated areas and Surf City), and North Topsail Beach (mandatory for the town beginning Tuesday at 8 a.m.)
Evacuation orders can change at any time, so keep an eye on your local news for changes. Note that the “Know Your Zone” designations are set up in Virginia and South Carolina, not North Carolina.
According to the State of North Carolina, you should do the following if you are considering evacuating:
- Stay tuned to local media.
- Fill your car with gasoline and only take one vehicle if possible. You might want to fill your car up soon, as gas shortages are not unheard of during hurricane evacuations.
- Leave early so you don’t meet heavy traffic or get caught in a traffic jam during bad weather.
- Map your path, paying attention to police recommendations, and let your friends know where you’re going. Ask your neighbors if they need a ride.
- Plan to stay at a friend’s home or a motel or hotel in a safe area. Shelters are a last resort choice.
- Take any emergency kits for you and your family, including important papers, money and extra cash since banks might be closed, and medicine.
- Lock your doors and windows before you leave. Turn off your water, gas, and power, and unplug small appliances.
Evacuation Routes & Map in North Carolina
In North Carolina, many interstates and major highways to and from the coast can accommodate heavy traffic, which allow for better evacuations. The map below shows coastal routes to I-95, as provided by the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
Hurricane Florence is currently expected to begin affecting North Carolina on Wednesday evening. Below is the main hurricane evacuation map for North Carolina. You can view it in a larger size here. On the road, routes will be indicated by circular blue roadside signs.
According to StarNewsOnline, NCDOT is recommending that drivers take designated evacuation routes and not back roads. Designated evacuation routes include Interstate 40, I-40, U.S. 74-76, U.S. 117, N.C. 211 and N.C. 210.
You can get real-time information about North Carolina’s roadways and congestion on the map here. And listen to NOAA Weather Radio or your local stations for more evacuation details.
Some bridges to beach towns may close early depending on the weather, according to StarNewsOnline:
- Sunset Beach police will close the high-rise bridge if sustained winds reach 45 to 50 mph.
- In Surf City and Wrightsville Beach, bridges will only close if a mandatory evacuation is issued.
- Snow’s Cut Bridge into Carolina Beach might close if sustained winds reach 45 mph (this is what officials have done in the past.)
- Cape Fear Memorial Bridge will only be closed by DOT to marine traffic if sustained winds reach 40 mph. But it won’t likely be closed to vehicles, Star News Online noted.
City & County Specific Evacuation Details
If you are in Duck, North Carolina, the typical evacuation route is “NC 12 (south) to US 158 (west) towards Elizabeth City, NC and Norfolk, VA.”
The hurricane hotline in Brunswick County is 1-800-522-2366. You can register for emergency notifications here.
In Beaufort County, North Carolina (and Washington, North Carolina) U.S. 17 and U.S. 264 are typically used to evacuate the coast. Traffic can get heavy, so leave early if possible.
If you are in Onslow County, you can find a map of shelters here.
Dare County has two evacuation routes: Highway 64/264 West and Highway 158 North, according to Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. Residents are encouraged to use Highway 64/264 West if evacuating from Hatteras Island, Nags Head, and Roanoke Island. Traffic can back up on the Highway 158 route because it will merge with traffic from the Outer Banks and other surrounding counties. The 64/264 route tends to have less congestion, Dare County Emergency Management advises.
Here is Dare County’s evacuation map:
North Carolina’s travel information line is 511, giving details about travel conditions and major closures or wrecks.
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