Officials issue mandatory evacuation for Ocracoke Island ahead of Hurricane Dorian

Posted at 3:47 PM, Sep 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-02 15:49:03-04

HYDE Co., N.C. – The Hyde County Board of Commissioners issued a mandatory evacuation Monday for all Ocracoke Island visitors and residents in anticipation of the impacts from Hurricane Dorian.

The order will go into effect for visitors on Tuesday, September 3 at 5 a.m. It will go into effect for residents on Wednesday, September 4 at 5 a.m.

The Hyde County Mainland Deputy Control Group will meet Tuesday morning to discuss the forecast and any additional emergency protective measures necessitated by the weather conditions.

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. 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.

Related: Mandatory evacuation issued for Dare Co. ahead of Hurricane Dorian 

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 Monday.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore visitor services will be suspended starting 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.

According to estimates from the National Hurricane Center, low-lying areas of Hyde County – including Ocracoke Island – could start receiving storm surge of more than one foot above the ground within the next three days. Locally, higher amounts of more than three feet above the ground are forecast for areas surrounding the Pungo River and Lake Mattamuskeet.

This is well ahead of Dorian’s arrival, which is projected to occur Thursday into Friday, and these values will only increase over the coming days.

Additionally, the Weather Prediction Center has forecast six-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 the storm and will persist throughout this week. 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 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.

Click here for more Dorian coverage.

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