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Crystal Coast Hurricane Information

Hurricane season extends from June to November. When a hurricane approaches, the Town officials will issue either a mandatory or a voluntary evacuation. During a mandatory Crystal Coast Hurricane evacuation, everyone must leave the island and go further inland. This includes both vacationers and permanent residents.

After the mandatory evacuation is executed, the bridges are secured by the state police, and no vehicles are allowed on the island until the evacuation is lifted. During a voluntary evacuation, the individual can decide whether they leave the island or not, but they are given instructions to take in porch furniture and secure windows and doors, etc. The Weather Channel issues early warnings so there is ample time for citizens to prepare. Newspapers, radio, and television stations keep the public notified about evacuations as well as re-entry information after the Crystal Coast Hurricane has passed.

Conditions and terms that will be described on television and radio are as follows:

  • Gale Warnings: When winds of 39 to 54 miles per hour are imminent.
  • Hurricane Watch: When hurricane conditions are expected within 24-36 hours
  • Hurricane Warning: When a hurricane strike is expected within 24 hours with winds of 74 MPH or higher.

You may also hear hurricane condition terms such as:

  • Condition 4: Begin serious planning.
  • Condition 3: 36-48 hours to forecasted landfall.
  • Condition 2: 18-24 hours to forecasted landfall.
  • Condition 1: Expected landfall within 18 hours or less.

Steps to ensure your safety:

  • Listen to weather reports and storm info available on the following radio and TVs
  • Stations: TV: WITN-7, WFXI-8, WNCT-9, WCTI-12; RADIO: 740 AM, 1400 AM, 96.3 FM, 106.5 FM.
  • Monitor the National Weather Service (NOAA) or the local Channel 10. Fill your vehicle up with gas since gas lines will be longer during a hurricane emergency or electricity to gas pumps might be off. Once a hurricane watch is ordered get prepared to leave the island whether you are staying at your home, motel, hotel, campground, and mobile home park, or rental property. Emerald Isle Police will notify all property managers of rental properties with sufficient lead-time so that you can easily and safely leave the island.

All residents and visitors in Emerald Isle, Salter Path, Pine Knoll Shores, Atlantic Beach, and Indian Beach can leave by either the Emerald Isle or the Atlantic Beach Bridge before and during the Hurricane Watch. Once a Hurricane Warning is issued all residents and visitors must leave via the Emerald Isle Bridge only. Please travel at least 50 miles inland in order to get shelter. Local shelters are limited and are meant for primary use by local residents. No boats, trailers, motor homes, or high-profile units will be allowed over the bridges when winds reach a sustained force of 45 MPH. Bogue Banks island will be closed to all incoming traffic (except emergency vehicles) once officials declare a State of Emergency. Remember should you remain on the island after the bridges become impassable there may not be any food services, utilities, or emergency services available until the bridge is reopened.

Besides damaging winds and flooding from heavy rains, there is also the possibility of dangerous storm surge. A storm surge is a dome of water that can be as high as 20 feet. It takes 10-12 hours to safely evacuate our island during the summer season when the population is the highest. There will be traffic jams in areas such as Havelock on US 70 and Maysville of US 17 while leaving the area. Please give yourself ample time so you are not stranded on the highway with high winds and heavy rains imminent.

After the Hurricane has passed and essential personnel have determined the area safe, the decision is made when residents and visitors can return to Emerald Isle and surrounding beaches of Salter Path, Indian Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, and Atlantic Beach. The general public will be able to return only after it is determined the entire island is safe. Even then, there may be spots that will be closed to the public because of danger.


Emerald Isle property owners and annual renters are issued a re-entry pass from the Town of Emerald Isle. These passes are necessary in order to return to the island after an evacuation. Each property owner is issued ONE FREE PASS per property. These are permanent passes and are not issued each year: If the property is sold, the owner needs to turn over this pass to the new owner. Contact Emerald Isle Town Hall at 252-354-3424 for further information about re-entry passes.

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