By Peter Vankevich and Connie Leinbach
Update Saturday, Sept. 26, 9 a.m
As you leave Ocracoke village towards Hatteras Island, there is a NC/DOT sign indicating the road to the Hatteras ferry is closed. Road flooding beyond the pony pen is the reason. Additionally the Ferry Division has reported that several ferry routes are suspended due to weather conditions including Pamlico River Ferry, Cherry Branch and Hatteras-Ocracoke.
You can call the terminal ahead of time to make sure that the ferry has not been delayed or canceled.
The telephone number for the Hatteras/Ocracoke ferries is 252 986-2353
Ocracoke/Swan Quarter and Ocracoke/Cedar Island ferries: 252 928-1665
You can also get the latest on Twitter @ncdot_ferry
Heavy rains pummeled Ocracoke Friday with reports from several islanders that rain gauges collected more than five inches.
In Widgeon Woods, one rain gauge recorded 6.5 inches with many yards in the neighborhood experiencing minor flooding.
Islander Susse Wright said their boat moored in Oyster Creek needed to be bailed to avoid possible sinking.
“It’s deep in all the usual places,” said Jaren Mutro, deputy sheriff, standing Friday afternoon with Deputy Rob King at Sunset Drive and Friendly Ridge Road.
“It’s up to my shins down there,” added Deputy Rob King, who with Mutro was preventing drivers from going through Sunset toward Oyster Creek where a car owned by Jamie and Gray Stewart of Wake Forrest was stranded.
They were on their way to checking in at the Anchorage Motel for the night as part of their weekend vacation on Ocracoke when their car started sputtering through the puddle at Cutting Sage, Jamie said.
“Then we rounded the corner and it stopped,” she said.
Another visitor, Fred Kunz of Florence, SC, stopped his truck to try to give their car battery a jump, but to no avail.
Another Good Samaritan was the Ocracoke Variety Store.
“They heard about our situation and sent us coffee and snacks,” Jamie said. “That was just incredible.”
“It’s been a good adventure,” Jamie said, even though they spent a good part of the afternoon awaiting the arrival of a flatbed trailer from up the beach to haul their water logged car.
“This is not going to tarnish our view of Ocracoke,” Jamie said. “We are coming back.”
She praised the sheriff deputies.
“They’ve been absolutely phenomenal,” she said.
Mutro reported two stranded cars on Highway 12 north of the pony pens, and around 6:30 p.m., King, who was still standing at Sunset and Friendly Ridge got another call about a stranded car at the north end of the island.
Ocracoke’s community radio station got caught into the spirit of the day by launching a special rain song theme show.
In its noted eclectic mix of music, the station played songs such as More than Rain by Tom Waits, Ann Peebles’ I Can’t Stop the Rain, Rhythm of the Falling Rain by the Cascades, and, of course, Bob Dylan’s A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.
Even some frogs got caught up by the wetness and began croaking all over the island.
The National Park Service issued a press release saying people should use extreme caution while visiting the beaches of Cape Hatteras National Seashore this weekend until rough sea and stormy conditions cease.
The following Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) beach access ramps are currently closed to ORV due to high, lunar tides, rough surf conditions and consistent high winds in the region:
- Cape Point ORV access is limited to approximately one third of a mile south of Ramp 44. The tip of Cape Point is closed to ORV use due to severe erosion and steep sand escarpments along the ORV route;
- Ramps 49 in Frisco;
- Ramp 55 and the Pole Road in Hatteras Village;
- and Ramp 59 and Ramp 72 and South Point Road on Ocracoke Island.
And it’s not over. Forecasts for Saturday call for even more rain, including high winds and periodic thunder storms.