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Mandatory evacuation of Ocracoke to be lifted at 5 a.m. Saturday, road blocked

The Lifeguard Beach during a lull in Friday's day-long deluge. Photo by C. Leinbach

The Lifeguard Beach during a lull in Friday’s day-long deluge. Photo by C. Leinbach

 

Updated, Friday, Oct. 2, 11:00 p.m.

NC Department of Transportation released the following:

N.C. 12 on Ocracoke Island in Hyde County has closed this evening due to sound-side flooding. The road is currently closed in both directions from the Pony Pen to the Hatteras Ferry terminal with reports of about two feet of water on the roadway.

N.C. Department of Transportation maintenance crews will be out Saturday morning to assess the road conditions. There is not an estimated schedule for reopening the road at this time.

There will be no Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry service until the road reopens. Regular updates on ferry routes can be found on Twitter.

No other road closures are reported at this time along the Outer Banks; however, there are areas of standing water throughout the region, which is likely to continue through the weekend. All roads are open and passable, but drivers should proceed with caution and avoid driving through standing water if possible. Updates will be posted on the NCDOT N.C. 12 Facebook page as they are received.

Friday, Oct. 2; 7:29 p.m.

Hyde County officials  today lifted the mandatory evacuation for Ocracoke Island as of 5 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday), but travel to the island will be restricted to residents, property owners, emergency personnel, utility crews and vendors, according to a late afternoon press release.

Access to Ocracoke Island for visitors remains prohibited until further notice.

The NC Ferry Division  announced it will resume its regular schedules on the Hatteras-Ocracoke, Cedar Island-Ocracoke, and Swan Quarter-Ocracoke routes also at 5 a.m. Saturday.

Note, however, that around 5:30 p.m.  Friday, the Facebook page on the NC Ferry Division posted that Hwy 12 north of the village has been closed, so they are suspending operations on the Hatteras-Ocracoke route until the road reopens. The number to call  to see if the Hatters/Ocracoke ferries are running is 252 986-2353. A neon sign leaving Ocracoke also has posted information

Law enforcement personnel will be on hand at ferry terminals to enforce the restricted entry.

Tolls remain waived and reservations cancelled on the Pamlico Sound routes, and all ferry runs to and from Ocracoke will be loaded on a first-come, first-served basis until full access to Ocracoke is restored.

Highway 12 is partly under water near Lifeguard Beach. Photo by C. Leinbach

Highway 12 is partly under water near Lifeguard Beach. Photo by C. Leinbach

During the course of the mandatory evacuation, NCDOT ferries carried more than 500 vehicles and 1,200 passengers off of Ocracoke Island.

According to the National Weather Service, Joaquin has weakened slightly as the eye passes near San Salvador Island, but hurricane conditions will continue over the central Bahamas for several more hours.

The track guidance models are  now in good agreement that Joaquin will move generally northeastward between the United States and Bermuda well away from the Outer Banks, with a short-lived northward turn in the 48-72 hour period.  Eventually, the hurricane  is expected to move into the westerlies and move quickly east-northeastward across the North Atlantic.  The new forecast track is similar to the previous forecast and now lies near the consensus models.

Drivers should exercise caution as there is high water on several roads within the village. Hyde County government offices and all Hyde County solid waste convenience sites will continue to operate normally until further notice.

Seas are still expected to build to 15 to 20 feet on Saturday and much more rain is expected on Sunday and Monday. 

Flooding on Cedar Island forced the NC Ferry Division to suspend service Friday between Ocracoke and Cedar Island until road conditions improve.

An emergency general population shelter that was set up in the Englewood Baptist Church, 1350 South Winstead Ave., Rocky Mount, Nash County, closed today at 5 p.m.

Ed Joyner, a member of the church, said in an interview that no one from Ocracoke or mainland Hyde showed up.

“A Red Cross trailer was there and the county had their people on standby,” he said.

Lighthouse experiencing minor flooding Friday afternoon, Oct. 2. Photoby P. Vankevich

The lighthouse experiencing minor flooding Friday afternoon, Oct. 2. Photoby P. Vankevich

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