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Carteret County Hurricane Information in NC – Updates and Alerts, Evacuations, Preparations, Disaster Recovery, And Education

Carteret County hurricane information in NC focusing on storm updates and alerts, preparations, evacuation orders, disaster recovery efforts, and education. This article will be updated hourly when there are active tropical systems threatening the communities of Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle, Pine Knoll Shores, Salter Path, Beaufort, Morehead City, and areas down east in Harkers Island and Marshallberg.

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Readers are encouraged to share this article on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter so other residents in Carteret County can learn about this information and get updates. Additionally, we encourage readers to use the discussion form below to ask questions or relay hurricane related information to us and our readers.

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Carteret County NC Hurricane Discussions

All updates and preparations valid for Morehead City, Beaufort, Newport, Harkers Island, Cedar Island, Atlantic Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, and Emerald Isle.

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This section will be populated with Carteret County hurricane information during active systems near Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle, Morehead City, Newport, Beaufort, and areas Down East near Harkers Island NC.

Recommended Preparations

If evacuation orders are given by Carteret County Emergency Management officials, then we strongly encourage you to evacuate. It’s important to note that if county and state officials order an evacuation, there will be no open shelters in those areas. Once winds reach a certain wind speed, or until winds subside, there will be no EMS services or law enforcement response to you. Even if no mandatory or suggested orders are given, families with young children or elderly should leave regardless of a storm’s category status.

Maintain a month supply of non-perishable foods, water, hurricane lamps and oil, batteries, candles, toilet paper, pet food, flashlights, baby food, diapers, and other absolute needs. It should also be noted that about a week before a hurricane or tropical system is forecast to impact Carteret County, stores run out of storm supplies. We recommend buying these items before hurricane season.

While it’s not absolutely necessary, save money each month and buy a generator, and have enough gas on hand for a month’s worth of use.

Fill all cars with gas. Again, about a week before a storm could impact the area, gas becomes very hard to find and will be even harder to find for many weeks after a storm.

Have as much cash on hand as you can possibly get. As many residents discovered after Hurricane Florence, some stores will open very soon after impact, but they will only accept cash.

If you or a family member are medically vulnerable, leave the area even if there is no mandatory evacuation. This is especially crucial for patients that have medical devices which require electricity or for patients that are medically compromised.

About a week before a storm could impact Carteret County, talk with your medical provider and local pharmacist about getting your medications refilled with a 3 month supply.

Please do not abandon your pets during a tropical system or hurricane whether you evacuate or not. Spend some time on social media and alert others to your needs. We can assure you help for family pets will be offered. Or, talk with your local veterinarian about your needs and concerns.

Clear your yard, lawns, decks, and sheds of anything that could become airborne. This includes garbage cans, hanging plants, and bicycles. Encourage your neighbors to do the same.

Fill your bathtub with water in case water pressure is lost and you need to flush your toilet.

Turn your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings about a week before a tropical system or hurricane and limit opening the doors. This will give you an extra 2 days before foods spoil.

If you’re reading this while there is an active storm threatening the area, we understand you likely can not accomplish this but for future storms consider measuring ALL windows in your home and buying plywood you can apply to windows from the outside when storms affect the area.

Once you lose electricity, turn all switches on your circuit breaker OFF to prevent power surges when electricity is restored.

Inspect trees on your property and if there are any with apparent weakened limbs consider cutting them down.

Please see our hurricane education section below for more information.

County Evacuations

This section will be populated with information about suggested and mandatory evacuations of Bogue Banks near Atlantic Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, Indian Beach and Salter Path, and Emerald Isle NC. Other Carteret County NC locations such as Morehead City, Beaufort, and Newport will be included as well.

Category And Intensity

This section will list basic information on category classification and what to expect, but it’s important to remember that life-threatening conditions DO occur even in low category storms and even far from the center of circulation (the eye).

Category 1 (74-95 mph winds): Will result in some damage to siding, shingles on roofs, sporadic power outages, and downed power lines and transformers. Category 1 hurricanes will produce minimal storm surge, although still significant.

Category 2 (96-110 mph winds): Will result in extensive damage to siding, shingles on roof structures, significant power outages, and downed power lines and transformers. Category 2 hurricanes will produce increasing storm surge levels.

Category 3 (111-129 mph winds): Will result in devastating damage to siding, roof structures, homes, and commercial buildings, complete power outages, and downed power lines and transformers. Category 3 hurricanes will produce extremely dangerous and life threatening storm surge levels. Storms of this magnitude are classified as major systems.

Category 4 (130-156 mph winds): Will result in catastrophic damage to all commercial buildings and home structures, complete power outages, and downed power lines and transformers. Category 4 hurricanes will produce extremely dangerous and life threatening storm surge levels. Storms of this magnitude are classified as major systems.

Category 5 (157 or greater mph winds): Will result in catastrophic damage to all commercial buildings and home structures, complete power outages, and downed power lines and transformers. Category 5 hurricanes will produce extremely dangerous and life threatening storm surge levels. Storms of this magnitude are classified as major systems.

Storms at the Category 1 and Category 2 levels can still cause loss of life extending far from actual landfall.

Disaster Recovery And Public Assistance

During NC hurricanes and tropical systems, it’s important to note that many times smartphone data service is still functioning during and after storms.

This section will be dedicated to alerting readers to area disaster recovery and public assistance offerings and needs immediately after a hurricane or tropical system has passed. When there is an active storm, we will publish a form in this section that residents can use to contact us and report information like where to find free ice, food, and other needs being given out by community churches, businesses, and other organizations.

This section is also open to information about emergency temporary housing being offered in the area along with needs for emergency housing.

Anything relating to immediate disaster recovery, public assistance, and education will be maintained hourly when there is an active hurricane or tropical storm near Carteret County NC.


Flash flooding and storm surge are the single biggest killer in a hurricane or tropical system. Falling trees ranks as the second deadliest.

If you live on the water, or in a known flood area, then we encourage you to evacuate for any tropical system that threatens Morehead City, Beaufort, Newport, all Bogue Banks communities, areas down east, and Cape Carteret. As we discovered during Hurricane Florence, a storm with just Category 1 status can cause deadly storm surge and flooding, especially if the system stalls or lingers over the area.

If you live in down east communities such as Harkers Island and Marshallberg, or in Bogue Banks communities such as Atlantic Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, Indian Beach, Salter Path, or Emerald Isle, then storm surge and flash flooding is especially dangerous and deadly. This is typically why mandatory evacuation orders are given in these areas regardless of a storm’s category status.

Second to flash flooding and storm surge, people being killed by falling trees on their home or while outside during a storm is something you need to consider when not evacuating. If you live in a home with large trees surrounding your home, then you need to consider leaving or staying with others.

Do not under any circumstances stay in a mobile home in any tropical system.

If you encounter downed power lines before AND after a storm, do not make the mistake of assuming they are not still capable of carrying electricity.

Regarding social media accounts of storm enthusiast, sites that have computer models, and hurricane commentary, please do not make decisions on preparations based on those sites. These sites are great for learning, but don’t make a decision to not leave or not prepare based on speculation.

The single best source for tracking tropical storms and systems is the National Hurricane Center website which is updated every 4-6 hours with competent forecast.

The single best information about disaster recovery and public assistance after a storm is your local emergency management office.

Past Storms Historical Reference

Hurricane Dorian in September 2019: Hurricane Dorian was a Category 1 storm who’s center of circulation came within 10 miles of Carteret County NC before eventually making landfall along Cape Lookout. Dorian delivered her impact via her left side, so winds, storm surge, and damage to homes were minimal. Roofing contractors reported working along Bogue Banks, Beaufort, and areas down east near Cedar Island and Harkers Island for almost 8 months. Dorian caused electricity outages for 3-4 days and caused evacuations from areas down east and along Bogue Banks.

Hurricane Florence in September 2018: Hurricane Florence was a historical storm which set the bar for all future tropical systems in our local area. While only a Category 1 system, Florence delivered the county severe flooding, storm surge, winds, and considerable damage to roofs, homes, and commercial buildings. Florence was particularly destructive because of her slow movement which allowed for rain, surge, and winds to batter communities for nearly two days. Hurricane Florence and her unique path allowed for the strongest right quadrant of the storm to impact Bogue Banks and down east communities, where normally hurricanes hit us with the left side of the storm. Roofing contractors reported working for over a year repairing roofs, siding, and other structures on homes. Florence caused electricity outages for a week and a half. The entirety of Bogue Banks from Emerald Isle to Atlantic Beach were under strict mandatory evacuations.

Hurricane Irene in August of 2011: Hurricane Irene made landfall in the county as a Category 1 storm.

Further Reading

Michael Sharp

Native of Carteret County NC, Father to Makayla and Savannah. You can add me on Facebook. Interest include web development, encryption, and other technologies.

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