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Oct. 5, 2016
Hyde County today suspended the mandatory evacuation tomorrow (Thursday) for Ocracoke residents that had been declared Wednesday.
Bill Rich, Hyde County manager, reported from the 5 p.m. meeting of the Ocracoke Deputy Control Group, that the suspension was made in light of the diminished threat to North Carolina by Hurricane Matthew. The evacuation order for residents is not “rescinded,” only suspended, which means that if conditions change, the evacuation order could be reinstated without another official evacuation declaration.
Resident and non-resident property owners, vendors and critical infrastructure providers will be permitted to travel to and from the island tomorrow and should be prepared to show documentation of property ownership or residency to gain access to the island.
Evacuation orders are still in effect for visitors, who were ordered to leave starting at 5 a.m. Wednesday, he said.
“We’ve gotten more consistent forecasts that it won’t hit us,” Rich said. “The closest it is projected to Ocracoke is now 161 miles.”
In addition, storm surge is expected to be only one to two feet, down from an earlier prediction of one to three feet, he said.
Ferries to and from the island are on schedule tomorrow, though the Ferry Division had declared yesterday that ferry service to and from the island will cease at first light on Friday. Those residents who want to leave the island should do so on Thursday, Rich said, but the Ferry Division also will revisit that declaration tomorrow, Rich said.
Ferries will run tomorrow according to their published scheduler, Rich said.
The Control Group, composed of various county and law enforcement officials and business owners to recommend actions in emergencies, will meet again tomorrow morning at 11, Rich said.
Earlier, Hyde County Emergency Services issued a notice saying that most forecast models now predict the Atlantic high pressure ridge will keep Matthew to the South.
That is still the case, Rich said.
“The maximum sustained winds are projected at 25 to 35 knots, if it stays as it is,” Rich said. “That’s like a nor’easter.”
The latest tracks shows the storm turning east into the Atlantic before it reaches the North Carolina coast, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Hyde County will continue to monitor the situation and will make decisions on suspension of this evacuation order as the forecast path becomes more certain.
Ocracoke School will be closed on Thursday and Friday and the National Park Service has all of its operations closed on Ocracoke for the time being.
Dr. Jeff Masters of the Weather Underground includes this in his posting today:
Track forecast for Matthew: danger to North Carolina and New England lessens
Wednesday’s latest 00Z run of the European model and 06Z run of the GFS model predicted that Matthew would turn to the northeast and then east on Saturday, keeping the storm several hundred miles south of the coast of North Carolina. In this scenario, the coasts of Georgia and southern South Carolina might still be at risk of hurricane force winds, but the coast farther north—including New England and Canada—would not be. In their 11 a.m. Wednesday Wind Probability Forecast, NHC was giving the coast from Jacksonville, Florida to Charleston, South Carolina 10 to 16 percent chances of receiving hurricane force winds. Probabilities for the coast of North Carolina were less than 10 percent.