County warns of dangerous travel on Highway 12

By on September 19, 2020

In Kitty Hawk, lifeguards hustle to move a stand out of harm’s way and away from encroaching waves. (Photo credit: Kip Tabb)

(Dare County Emergency Management)

In this new Sept. 19 update, Dare County Emergency Management is, among other things, advising guests on Hatteras Island to consider leaving early to avoid worsening driving conditions.

Here is the release.

A coastal flood warning remains in effect for the northern Outer Banks and Hatteras Island. High astronomical tides and coastal flooding during periods of high tide are creating hazardous conditions along Highway 12 on Hatteras Island in the Pea Island section south of the Basnight Bridge, in Avon and north Buxton.

The marine forecast from the National Weather Service shows the potential for 14- to 17-foot seas on Sunday Sept. 20 that are expected to bring even more significant ocean overwash that will create dangerous driving conditions and make some areas of Highway 12 impassable. Travelers to and from Hatteras Island are asked to avoid travel at high tide tonight and on Sunday into Monday. Guests scheduled to depart on Sunday are advised to consider adjusting plans by departing today, as soon as possible. Those scheduled to arrive on Sunday should check with their accommodations provider and consider delaying arrival.

For the most up-to-date weather information, visit the National Weather Service at Newport/Morehead City at For updated information regarding road conditions on N.C. Highway 12, follow the North Carolina Department of Transportation on Facebook at, on Twitter @NCDOT_NC12 or visit


  • Arthur Pewty

    Fortunately the money you save by coming out of season will help defray the cost of the repairs you will have to make on your vehicle after driving it through ocean water.

    Saturday, Sep 19 @ 2:47 pm
  • hightider

    Don’t expect tourists to show any common sense. Youtube has a new video of tourists who disobeyed all posted signs to drive on the beach in Carova in an ordinary car instead of four wheel drive. Naturally the 10 minute video is of a tow truck driver trying to pull them out with their Virginia plates prominently displayed.

    Sunday, Sep 20 @ 12:50 am
  • Bud

    The ignorant will be out there driving around, endangering themselves and ruining their vehicles.

    Sunday, Sep 20 @ 4:27 am
  • Southern Dawn


    I want to point out that there have been many references to VA license plates and rude tourists with VA plates. I am from Virginia and on too many occasions to count while we were visiting the island over the last 20 years, we have pulled folks out with VA tags (we have a tow strap) only to find out they were from TX, CO, CA, etc. The tourists fly into VA and rent vehicles. One couple with two small children were told at the airport that the AWD would drive on the beach – SMH. Not to say that there are not rude VA tourists but don’t assume they are all from VA because of the plates.

    Yes, we know how to drive on the beach and protect our vehicles. Most long time visitors do.
    We have seen many vehicles float away because they were too close to the water and the owners didn’t regard the tide information. Newest class of tourists.

    Sunday, Sep 20 @ 1:36 pm
  • hightider

    Southern Dawn – I did not say they were from VA; I said their plates were. Watch the video – they are Russians. I don’t care where the visitors are from – they have no business coming here and Dare should have closed the county to them. BTW, the 4×4 beaches in Currituck do not allow anyone to tow a stuck vehicle otherthan a licensed tow truck. I too have a tow strap and other essentials but feel no need to assist tourists and incur liability.

    Monday, Sep 21 @ 1:15 pm
  • Southern Dawn

    Hightider – I will take a look at the video but from other posters the inference is that the tourists are from VA; I wanted to clear up why you see so many plates from VA. Russians? SMH

    We never stay in Currituck; it’s too crowded because we visit to surf fish and we still have to pack it up when other fishing tourists park too close to our lines. We stay in one of the villages on HI. The young couple with children I mentioned were stuck in the middle of a ramp blocking traffic. We never pull anyone out with someone in the vehicle and I video the owners giving permission. The other tourists were driving around them with two left tires ruining the dunes. If it’s not allowed on HI either, then we’ll go to another ramp next time. We don’t make a practice of it; we pass many stuck vehicles and keep moving. If they are driving 40-50K vehicles, soldier on with your frisbees and folding chairs. As you said, it’s not worth it.

    You know from my previous posts how I feel about shutting it down. I think we all know at this point that it isn’t going to happen.

    Tuesday, Sep 22 @ 9:17 am