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Cape Lookout National Seashore To Close in Advance of Hurricane Earl, Cape Hatteras National Seashore Shuttering, Too


A hurricane watch was issued Tuesday afternoon for North Carolina's Outer Banks, including Cape Lookout and Cape Hatteras national seashores, as Hurricane Earl headed towards the mainland. NOAA graphic.

With Hurricane Earl taking aim at the North Carolina coastline -- and points north -- officials at Cape Lookout National Seashore have ordered an evacuation of the seashore, while a bit farther north Cape Hatteras National Seashore officials were closing visitor centers and campgrounds.

Tuesday afternoon the National Weather Service issued a hurricane watch for North Carolina's Outer Banks as Earl, at the time about 1,000 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, headed to the northwest with 135 mile-per-hour winds.

At Cape Lookout, Superintendent Russel J. Wilson ordered a mandatory evacuation of all visitors from the seashore islands beginning Wednesday evening. The park will be closed to all visitors and services as of 5 p.m. on Wednesday until further notice, he said in a release.

The weather service was predicting that the effects of Hurricane Earl will impact the Outer Banks Group units -- Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site and Wright Brothers National Memorial -- by Thursday, with storm conditions continuing through Friday, said Park Service officials.

As a result, Cape Hatteras officials announced that on Wednesday the Ocracoke Visitor Center would close at noon and the Hatteras Island, Bodie Island, Wright Brothers and Fort Raleigh visitor centers would close at 5:00 p.m. The Ocracoke, Frisco, Cape Point and Oregon Inlet Campgrounds were scheduled to close at 12:00 noon Wednesday. In addition, the Ocracoke Campground reservation system has been temporarily suspended.

The last climb for the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse will be at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, and the lighthouse will close at 3:00 p.m.

By Thursday, seashore officials expected to see ocean over-wash and rough surf conditions that would create unsafe conditions on seashore beaches. Off-road vehicle use will be prohibited until safe conditions allow for this recreational activity, the officials said.


gosh, that is scary stuff, i sure hope Earl shifts and misses this beautiful Island, i was there in May we stayed in Buxton and loved it so much that i planned our honeymoon there on September 25th at the outer banks motel, i sure hope and pray there is still a motel there in 3 weeks, and by the way my groom to be name just happens to be EARL....

Does anyone know if any of the campgrounds are open now (after Earl)? Are they opening soon?

I am coming from Washington, DC and I would hate to change my vacation plans and stay in DC this long weekend.

Please let me know,

Thank you,


As I understand it, the campgrounds at Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout National Seashores have been closed until further notice, pending post-storm review. Campground reservations have been suspended until further notice. You should visit the park websites for updated information. Given the circumstances, I personally would not make plans to visit the Outer Banks parks this weekend, for camping or for any other purpose.

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