By Peter Vankevich
Wednesday was a breaking news day on Ocracoke culminating with an announcement that Ocracoke would be open for visitors today.
Islanders awoke to sun and little wind yesterday and many looked out their windows and saw grass for the first time since last Friday when the island quickly flooded resulting in a mandatory evacuation order that had gone into effect at 3 p.m. the day before.
Hurricane Joaquin swirling in the Bahamas and was predicted to head toward the island. Although the storm stayed out to sea, the heavy rain and wind caused major flooding on the island.
Yesterday, Hyde County, the North Carolina Ferry Division and the Department of Transportation all took to Facebook, Twitter and press releases to make announcements as all entities moved quickly to restore the basic services and access to the island.
Hyde County government had announced Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. that due to the continued flooding of the roadways the Hyde County government offices would remain closed Wednesday including the Hyde County solid waste convenience sites.
However, around 11 a.m. yesterday came an announcement on its Facebook page that the Ocracoke convenience site was open and operate on its normal schedule.
Around 2 p.m., the Ferry Division announced the resumption of limited service with a 4 p.m. trip from Ocracoke to Cedar Island. The Swan Quarter to Ocracoke service would resume at 5 p.m., restricted to residents, property owners, vendors, emergency personnel and utility workers only. At 4:30 p.m. came the news the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry route would resume its regular fall schedule today with a 7 a.m. departure on the Hatteras side and an 8:30 a.m. departure on the Ocracoke side.
At 2:30 p.m. Hyde County issued an announcement that Ocracoke Island would be open to visitors starting today.
Just before 6 p.m., N.C. Department of Transportation announced the reopening N.C. 12 on Ocracoke Island from the Pony Pen to the Hatteras-Ocracoke Ferry terminal at 7 a.m. today, pending no issues at the next high tide. They cautioned that there is still water on the road and drivers are urged to use caution while traveling.
Down Creek Gallery continued its “Expose Yourself to Art” openings last evening, featuring local photographer Crystal Crystal Canterbury and music by Rob King. The event drew many local islanders ready to socialize.
Most businesses and lodgings will reopen over the next two days, and by the weekend, the island should be back to its normal October routines.