Hyde County issues mandatory evacuations for Ocracoke
Published 5:00 pm Monday, September 2, 2019
The Hyde County Board of Commissioners have ordered a mandatory evacuation of all visitors from Ocracoke Island in advance of Hurricane Dorian that will go into effect on Tuesday at 5 a.m. A mandatory evacuation of Ocracoke residents will go into effect on Wednesday at 5 a.m. The Hyde County Mainland Deputy Control Group will meet Tuesday at 10 a.m. to discuss the forecast and any additional emergency protective measures necessitated by the weather conditions.
Due to the current forecast of Hurricane Dorian, the Hyde County Board of Commissioners meeting scheduled for Tuesday will be postponed. We will announce the rescheduled date as soon as it becomes available.
Only residents, homeowners or vendors with an Ocracoke re-entry pass on their vehicles will be allowed on ferries inbound to Ocracoke beginning at 5 a.m. on Tuesday. Priority boarding will be suspended for all vessels leaving Ocracoke, and tolls have been waived for ferries heading from Ocracoke to Cedar Island or Swan Quarter.
The Ocracoke-Hatteras, Ocracoke-Cedar Island and Ocracoke-Swan Quarter ferry routes will run their published schedules. The final departure from Ocracoke to Swan Quarter will be Wednesday at 3:45 p.m., the final departure from Ocracoke to Cedar Island will be Wednesday at 1 p.m., and the final departure from Ocracoke to Hatteras will be Wednesday at 2 p.m. The Ocracoke Express passenger ferry will end service for the 2019 season at the end of the day today.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore visitor services will be suspended Tuesday at 10 a.m. on Ocracoke Island for the duration of the weather event. This includes the Ocracoke campground, visitor center, ranger programs and off-road vehicle permit sales office.
The National Hurricane Center has initiated probabilistic surge mapping and low lying areas of Hyde County, including Ocracoke Island, could start receiving storm surge of greater than one foot above the ground within the next three days. Locally higher amounts of greater than three feet above the ground are forecast for areas surrounding the Pungo River and Lake Mattamuskeet. This is well ahead of the Dorian’s arrival, which is projected to occur on Thursday into Friday, and these values will only increase over the coming days.
In addition, the Weather Prediction Center has forecast six to 10 inches of precipitation to accumulate across Hyde County, including Ocracoke Island, over the next seven days.
A high risk of dangerous rip currents will exist for the remainder of this event and will persist throughout this week and swells from Dorian will continue to build as it tracks towards North Carolina.
The combination of higher than normal tides, storm surge, and building surf conditions significantly threaten the transportation routes that serve Ocracoke Island. The dunes that protect N.C. Highway 12 on Ocracoke are already being weakened during high tide cycles and it is possible that dune over wash precedes the peak weather conditions. When evaluating your evacuation plans, this needs to be taken into consideration.
The Hyde County Emergency Services Department will continue to monitor the forecast for Hurricane Dorian and issue advisories as appropriate. For the most current and official information please monitor the National Hurricane Center website at www.nhc.noaa.gov/.