Video: Ocracoke flooding worse than Matthew

Published 9:34 am Friday, September 6, 2019

Ocracoke and Hatteras are being inundated with storm surge draining from the rivers and sound west of the island.

The eye of Hurricane Dorian passed the island around 7 a.m. Friday morning. A shift in wind direction as the eye moved north meant water previously pushed into the estuary drained out of rivers, lakes and streams, flooding the area from the Pamlico Sound side.

At 8 a.m., the water began rising rapidly, inches within seconds, according to one resident. Water levels quickly surpassed those of 2016’s Hurricane Matthew, the highest flood levels in the island’s recorded history. At 8:45 a.m., Ocracoke postmaster Celeste Brooks sent out a call for help when she was forced to climb into her attic to get away from rising water. Moments later, a boat was seen speeding down an inundated Back Road. At 9 a.m., Back Road had four feet of water in some areas.

At 9:30 a.m., it was reported the water was receding slightly.

According to Tony Saavedra, observation program leader at the National Weather Service Newport/Morehead City office, both Ocracoke and Hatteras were flooded with upwards of 6 feet of water.

“I have a contact out there (on Ocracoke), and he said this is historic, as far as he’s concerned. He’s never seen anything like it,” Saavedra said.

The NWS Advance Hydrologic Prediction Service graph released Friday shows the Pamlico Sound at Ocracoke rising to major flood level in the space of an hour, from a foot below normal to 6.37 feet. The water has now receded to moderate flood stage, at a few inches below 4 feet; by noon, it had dropped beneath three feet. An 11 a.m. reading at Pamlico Sound at U.S. Coast Guard Station Hatteras read 5.63 feet above normal.

Every car, RV and truck parked in the National Park Service parking lot near Ocracoke’s Silver Lake ferry terminal flooded, it’s being reported. Ocracoke residents have traditionally used the lot during hurricanes, as it is a high spot on the island.

Hyde County announced it will be evacuating Ocracoke residents by air to a Red Cross shelter in Plymouth.

Watch video of Ocracoke flooding here.