Damage assessments have begun in eastern North Carolina as weather conditions improve after the tropical system associated with Hurricane Sandy churned along the coast this week. Portions of western North Carolina continue to experience winter weather conditions associated with the storm system which was declared a post-tropical cyclone Tuesday morning. Hurricane Sandy’s impacts were being felt throughout eastern and western North Carolina. The hurricane has forced state and local officials to: Issue State of Emergency declarations in 40 counties East of I-95 and 24 counties in western North Carolina, close N.C. 12 from Rodanthe to Oregon Inlet bridge, divert traffic on Highway 158 in Kitty Hawk due to flooding, close the Bonner Bridge (Oregon Inlet), and alter ferry service schedules. Assessments for ferry service will continue and routes will resume once they are determined to be safe. NCDOT road information is available by calling 511 or online at www.ncdot.gov/travel. Initial reports indicate that there was 1 reported death in Surry County. The N.C. Highway Patrol reports a male driver ran into a downed tree at approximately 7:15 p.m. Monday and was declared dead on the scene. No other injuries due to the storm have been reported. As of Tuesday, more than 4,200 customers were without power with a large number of those in the western part of the state. Three six-person swift water and flood rescue teams out of Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh have been deployed and are on location in Maryland to respond to needs in those areas. State emergency management officials are working with local officials to respond to requests for debris removal from roadways as the storm has passed.