News

Ocracoke under the influence–of Joaquin

By Connie Leinbach

High waters along Highway 12. Photo by C. Farley

High waters along Highway 12 in front of the Ocracoke Oyster Co. Photo by C. Farley

It’s not often one sees Trudy Austin sitting down while working the register at the Ocracoke Variety Store, but Friday afternoon, Trudy was taking a break between the few customers.

“They all came in yesterday to get their stuff,” she said, then hopped up to check out some youngsters and others.

Janet Spencer, working in the hardware store, said she had a steady trickle of customers getting items for indoor repairs.

“They can’t work outside,” she said. “So they’re working inside.”

Tommy Hutcherson, Variety Store proprietor, said the store is well stocked. He had milk and bread deliveries today and a grocery delivery Thursday.

“We’re really fine,” he said. The store is open its regular hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Dave Frum, who works at the water plant, was one of those customers.

He noted that on Ocracoke, it’s not necessary to stock up on bottled water for storms.

“The water plant will continue to pump water,” he said.

The NCCAT dock earlier this morning. Photo by C. Farley

The NCCAT dock earlier this morning. Photo by C. Farley

The system is a closed one and so protected, and if the power goes out, they have a generator.

A few eateries are open today and tonight awaiting customers.

“We’ll stay open,” said Nick Odom at the Ocracoke Oyster Company. “If the power goes out, we have a generator.”

In front of the Ocracoke Seafood Co., aka, The Fish House. Photo by C. Farley

In front of the Ocracoke Seafood Co., aka, The Fish House. Photo by C. Farley

The kitchen is open until 10 and the bar open until midnight, he said.

Laurie Death, co-proprietor of the Ocracoke Bar & Grille, said she’s had seven customers all day, a few of them vacationers. They are open until 2 a.m. They have a full menu until 9 p.m. and a limited menu after that.

Thai Moon take-out will be open until 6 or 7 tonight, said Moon Dennis. She is not sure about her hours on Saturday.

“It’s been fairly slow, obviously,” said Tom Powell at Gaffer’s Sports Pub, which is open from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Customers have been locals and staff, he said.

“We have plenty of food and (drink),” he said.

Zillie’s Island Pantry was closed today, said Will Canterbury.

“Back Road is almost completely flooded,” he said.  Open time tomorrow at 1 p.m. is tentative, too, depending on the water, he said.

All establishments recommended checking their Facebook pages.

A rain gauge in Widgeon Woods measured 7.7 inches of rain today.

Between downpours, Mark Justice, owner of the Fudge & Ice Cream Shop as well as a medical responder with the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department, made a scud around the island and turned his truck around in the Lifeguard Beach parking lot.

Even though Joaquin has weakened a bit and does not appear to be making a beeline toward the Outer Banks, according to NOAA, Justice noted he was concerned about the expected wind on Saturday. Weather Underground estimated Ocracoke gusts on Saturday and  Sunday will  be in the  25 to 35 mph  range.

“It could bring more water,” he said about the already saturated island and possibly result in the loss of trees.

He go ready to move on.

“I do this twice a day,” he said about his rounds. “It’s my island; my people.”

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2 replies »

  1. Thanks for the photos and the updates. Hopefully tomorrow will bring calm winds and little rain.

    • Weather underground is estimating 25 to 35 mph winds over the weekend. Generally not a big deal on the someimes wind-swept Ocracoke. But with all this water, it could be problematic.