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Ferries to run on modified schedule on Friday

Mary Bedwell ferry photo

Frequent island visitor Mary Bedwell of Memphis, Tenn., captured this stunning shot of the Swan Quarter ferry on Oct. 2

The following is from Hyde County Emergency Services, issued at 2 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016.

In a change from a previous decision, the N.C. Ferry Division will run a limited schedule on the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry route tomorrow (Friday). Departures are as follows:

Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry schedule:

From Hatteras: 5 a.m., 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, noon, 1 p.m., 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, midnight.

From Ocracoke: 4:30 a.m., 6:30, 7:30, 8:30, 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, 12:30 p.m.,1:30, 2:30, 3:30, 4:30, 5:30, 6:30, 7:30, 9:30, 10:30, 12:30 a.m.

In anticipation of Hurricane Matthew heading for the North Carolina coast, the Ferry Division previously had announced it would suspend runs at first light Friday.

However, tomorrow, the division will move several vessels out of harm’s way as Hurricane Matthew moves closer to southeastern coast of North Carolina. 

Today (Thursday), the Ferry Division will operate on a normal schedule as conditions allow. Water levels have been abnormally high over the past several days due to previous rainfall events and winds are already approaching speeds that could result in suspensions of service. Visitors are encouraged to evacuate as early as possible to ensure safe travels to their intended destinations.  

As of today, Hyde County officials suspended the mandatory evacuation order issued for residents and non-resident property owners. Residents and non-resident property owners, vendors and critical infrastructure providers will be permitted to travel to and from the island until ferry service is suspended. Please be prepared to show documentation of the aforementioned statuses to gain access to the island. Individuals wishing to gain access will need to have the appropriate re-entry tag or they will be required to produce evidence of property ownership or residency.

Even though the forecast has changed significantly, the visitor evacuation orders are still necessary and the evacuation has proceeded smoothly, according to the NCDOT Ferry Division. As of 5 a.m. this morning, the Ferry Division reported moving 1,095 people off island. The mandatory evacuation for Ocracoke Island visitors will remain in effect until conditions can be assessed after the event. The County of Hyde will work expeditiously to restore visitor access to Ocracoke Island, as the conditions permit.

The model trends that show Matthew off the coast have been consistent over the past day, and the latest National Hurricane Center forecast has maintained a track which curves back south of the North Carolina coast. 

The threat of dangerous and life threatening conditions diminishes with each favorable track update, but officials urge continued caution across the county.

According to Hyde County Emergency Management Services, based on the current official forecast, the most likely impacts for Eastern NC will be:

  • Minor to moderate storm surge and ocean side wave run-up issues resulting in minor to moderate erosion and isolated areas of over wash.
  • The potential for tropical storm force winds along the southern coast.
  • Heavy rainfall and isolated flash flooding is still possible
  • Extremely dangerous conditions for boaters.
  • Rip currents

We are hopeful the favorable forecast trends continue and the most significant impacts are not realized in Eastern NC. However it is too early to completely let our guard down. It is still within the margin of error for the storm to pass closer to the coast which would increase the impacts across coastal areas and inland. Continue to monitor the forecast for future changes.

Based on the current forecast, a mandatory evacuation for mainland Hyde County is not expected.

 

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