Storm, ocean waves cause closure of N. Carolina coastal road

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A strong low-pressure system whipped up ocean waves that forced the closure of a flood-prone highway on the North Carolina coast, officials said Monday.

A photo posted by the state Department of Transportation on its Facebook page showed that asphalt on N.C. Highway 12 was no longer visible, forcing officials to close the road, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported. The ocean overwash was expected to continue through Monday evening and especially during high tide, officials said.

While N.C. 12 remained open on Hatteras Island, the transportation department said there were several areas of deep standing water.

The National Weather Service warned of a strong low pressure system that would generate gusts near 50 mph (80 kmh) and 8-foot (2.4-meter) waves Monday, along with possible tornadoes in eastern North Carolina. A NOAA buoy in the Diamond Shoals area off the Outer Banks recorded waves nearing 16 feet (4.8 meters) around 11 a.m. Monday.

In February, contractors planned to place sandbags along a stretch of N.C. 12 on Ocracoke Island to prevent the road from being washed out. The new dune was to replace one that was washed away by Hurricane Dorian in 2019.