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Hermine passes over island, leaves storm surge

Storm surge from Tropical Storm Hermine floods Irvin Garrish Highway and Silver Lake Road on Saturday. Photo: P. Vankevich

Storm surge from Tropical Storm Hermine floods Irvin Garrish Highway and Silver Lake Road on Saturday. Photo: P. Vankevich

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This article was updated, Saturday 3:37 p.m. 

By Connie Leinbach

Tropical Storm Hermine passed over Ocracoke Friday night bringing high winds and rain and some morning flooding. By afternoon, the skies were bright and high winds continued as the storm system headed north and out to sea. 

The island is faring well despite the storm surge and officials hope the ferries will start running again Sunday.

“From the meetings and talking with Justin Gibbs (Hyde County Emergency Services director), the winds and storm surge are a threat until about 9 p.m. tonight,” said Bill Rich, Hyde County manager.

Winds have to be below 30 mph before ferries can run, he said.

“We want to be ready to be open when the ferries start running,” he said. 

Ferry Division officials are meeting today at 2 p.m. to assess the situation and the Ocracoke Deputy Control Group, which evaluates storm threats and recommends to the Hyde County commissioners whether or not to declare an evacuation, is meeting again today at 4 p.m.

The Stormy Pamlico Sound. Photo: Ann Warner

The Stormy Pamlico Sound. Photo: Ann Warner

High winds continue to impact the coastal region, even as the center of Hermine moves into the Atlantic Ocean. Early morning reports indicated sustained winds of 40 mph and gusts as high as 60 mph in some locations.

Ferry crews will conduct test runs when winds subside, which could be as early as Saturday afternoon. Clearance must be issued by the U.S. Coast Guard before operations may resume.

While there was no power outage on Ocracoke, Tideland EMC spokesperson Heidi Smith reported in a news release that overnight, electric outage totals grew from 297 consumers to approximately 1,500 consumers in Tideland’s six-county service territory.

Wyatt Spencer with his dad Nathan, makes the most of storm surge waters on Sunset Drive. Photo: C. Leinbach

Ocracoke water park? Wyatt Spencer with his dad, Nathan, makes the most of storm surge waters on Sunset Drive. Photo: C. Leinbach

Crews expect to work into early or late afternoon as outage totals decrease and restoration work turns to smaller individual outages.

As of 8 a.m. today, the following counties had power outages: Beaufort County – 579 consumers; Dare County – 129 consumers; Hyde County – 20 consumers; Pamlico County – 14 consumers; and Washington County – 246 consumers.

Rich said that Engelhard is out of power as are parts of Swan Quarter.

He said that Drew Pearson, the Dare County Emergency Services director, told the Control Group (which met today at 11 a.m.) that a tornado touched down along Eagle Pass in Hatteras, there’s a lot of flooding and some power lines are down there.

During the evacuation declaration, Ocracoke hotels cannot be open.  Ocracoke businesses are taking it day-to-day as to whether they are open and their hours.

As of Saturday afternoon, the following is the status of some Ocracoke businesses and restaurants:

Dajio restaurant: Closed

The Back Porch: Closed

The Slushy Stand: Closed.

Ocracoke Coffee opened its usual 7 a.m. time  and closed at 11 a.m. 

The Ocracoke Oyster Company: Open  

Jason’s Restaurant will probably not be open Saturday or Sunday, but hopes to be back open on Monday.

The Variety Store will close tonight at 7.

The Community Store: Open tonight until 7; regular hours Sunday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Howard’s Pub, closed Saturday.

Flying Melon Café, closed Saturday; possibly open Sunday

Gaffer’s Sports Pub: Closed

Ocracoke Bar & Grille: Opens at 4 p.m.

Sorella’s: Closed

S’MacNally’s: Closed

The Back Porch: Closed

Zillie’s Island Pantry: Open

The Sweet Tooth: Closed

Eduardo’s Taco Stand: Unknown

Cars and bicycles navigate deep waters on Sunset Drive. Photo: C. Leinbach

Cars and bicycles navigate deep waters on Sunset Drive. Photo: C. Leinbach

The following information is from NC DOT:

While Tropical Storm Hermine is now moving away from the Outer Banks, the area is still feeling its effects with minor flooding and downed trees. Area residents and visitors are urged to continue to stay off the roads because of standing water and, in some locations, sand on the roadway.

N.C. 12 between Corolla and Southern Shores has areas of deep standing water due to mid-morning high tide. Minor overwash came in at Kitty Hawk, and there is sand on parts of the highway between Kitty Hawk and Nags Head, but traffic is getting through.

On Pea Island there is standing water on the road, deep in some locations. Between Buxton and Hatteras there is some sand on the roadway, with deep standing water in areas. Ocracoke Island also reports standing water of 4 to 6 inches on N.C. 12, but did not get ocean overwash.

Secondary roads throughout the county have some standing water, but limbs and other debris have been cleared.

The U.S. 64 drawbridge over the Alligator River between Tyrrell and Dare counties was closed around 1 p.m. because of a tractor-trailer crash and a detour was set up, with portable message boards in place to alert drivers to the closure.

In the northeast section of the state, there are some road closures in Tyrell and Chowan counties, while Pasquotank, Camden and Currituck counties are dealing with trees and limbs falling on roads. Cleanup in those areas is being assisted by transportation crews mobilized from Gates and Washington counties. Martin, Hertford, Bertie and Northampton counties appear to have escaped any major problems.

Drivers are reminded to avoid unnecessary travel, especially in areas prone to flooding in storm conditions, and to use extra care and take precautions when on the roads:

Do not drive through flooded areas. If you see a flooded roadway ahead, turn around and take an alternate route to your destination. If there is no alternate route, head to higher ground and wait for the water to subside. Do not attempt to cross over a flooded road even if it seems shallow. Just one foot of water can float many vehicles, while two feet of rushing water can carry away vehicles including SUVs and pick-ups.

Ruth Fordon captured this shot of windy Silver Lake.

Ruth Fordon captured this shot of windy Silver Lake.

Storm surge on Creek Road. Photo: Ruth Fordon

Storm surge on Creek Road. Photo: Ruth Fordon

Woody Billings, center, doesnt need boots on Saturday, but Nathan Spencer, left, and Les Wooten, right, don theirs.

Woody Billings, center, doesn’t need boots on Saturday, but Nathan Spencer, left, and Les Wooten, right, don theirs. Photo: C. Leinbach

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