North Carolina's Outer Banks are reopening to tourists after Hurricane Maria brushed past the barrier islands and caused some coastal flooding.
A storm surge warning was issued from Ocracoke Inlet to Cape Hatteras, N.C.
By late Tuesday afternoon the rain started coming down in Nags Head and the wind picked up. But Pearson said officials think between 10,000 and 12,500 people have left the island ahead of the storm.
For Ocracoke Island, Hyde County officials will continue to coordinate with the NCDOT to determine when the evacuation order for visitors can be lifted. Residents shared the sentiment that this isn't something they're really scared of, but Keith Jones, who just moved to the island, says while not anxious about the storm, he is prepared. Hatteras has a year-round population of about 500 people, who are not required to leave.
The islands were expected to get only a glancing blow as weakening Tropical Storm Maria was forecast to move about 150 miles (240 kilometers) offshore Wednesday.
Dare County Emergency Management Director Drew Pearson said in an email that the high tide early Wednesday flooded roads in the area and travel remained hazardous.
The National Weather Service in Morehead City said significant beach erosion is expected north of Cape Lookout.
A mandatory evacuation is in place for visitors of Ocracoke and Hatteras islands.
A storm surge of 2 feet (0.6 meters) to 4 feet (1 meter) is possible.
An evacuation is underway on an island on North Carolina's Outer Banks as Hurricane Maria moves north.
Maria's maximum sustained winds Tuesday reached near 75 miles per hour.