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The last ferry from Ocracoke departs ahead of Hurricane Matthew

Prior to weather events, islanders find high ground anywhere on the island where they can park their cars. The NPS parking lot is another high spot available for people to park cars. Photo: C. Leinbach

Prior to weather events, islanders find high ground anywhere on the island where they can park their cars. This spot along Irvin Garrish Hwy. is popular. The NPS parking lot is another high spot available for people to park cars. Photo: C. Leinbach

For Ocracoke news, including earlier stories on Hurricane Matthew,  click here.

By Connie Leinbach

The N.C. Ferry Division made its last ferry run between Hatteras and Ocracoke today at 8 a.m. in anticipation of Hurricane Matthew’s approach.  So all who are on the island are stuck for now.

Ferries on the long routes–to Cedar Island and Swan Quarter made their final departures at 4 p.m. yesterday.  Officials will monitor the weather conditions and resume service as soon as it is safe to do so.matthew-ferry-sign

So far, the North Carolina Ferry System has evacuated 1,362 people from Ocracoke on its Hatteras, Cedar Island, and Swan Quarter routes.

Ocracoke should feel the full effects of the hurricane starting at 9 p.m. tonight and ending around 1 p.m. Sunday, said Hyde County Manager Bill Rich after a meeting at 9 this morning of the Ocracoke Deputy Control Group.

According to the Control Group’s information, winds will be about 54 mph with gusts up to 70 mph. 

“The most significant peaks will be from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. Sunday,” he said, and there also is now a chance for tornadoes on the island.

Storm surge, including rainfall volume, is expected at about three to six feet.  That means that from the normal height of the sound, water will rise three to six feet.

Ocracoke businesses are shuttered for Hurricane Matthew. Photo: C. Leinbach

Ocracoke businesses are shuttered for Hurricane Matthew. Photo: C. Leinbach

“The lake (water) is down now,” Rich said. “It didn’t rain as much overnight.”

Projected rainfall is 9.25 inches.

The high-water military vehicle is on the island, Rich said, and will be out as early as it can Sunday morning to assess damage. 

The Control Group will meet at 4:30 p.m. Sunday.   This group is composed of government, emergency and law enforcement officials and business owners. Prior to weather events, the group meets to discuss the situation and to recommend actions to the Hyde County commissioners.

As of 8 a.m. this morning, the forecast for the Ocracoke from the National Hurricane Center area is as follows:

Matthew is moving toward the northeast near 12 mph, and this general motion is expected to continue today. On the forecast track, the center of Matthew will continue to move near or over the coast of South Carolina today, and be near the coast of southern North Carolina by tonight.

Reports from the reconnaissance aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 85 mph with higher gusts. Although weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, Matthew is expected to remain a hurricane while the center is near the coasts of South Carolina and North Carolina.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 185 miles.  A private weather station at Folly Beach reported a wind gust of 76 mph. Strong wind gusts are also occurring well inland in South Carolina. Orangeburg recently reported a wind gust of 55 mph.

matthew-modis-oct7

MODIS satellite image of Matthew taken at 12 pm EDT Oct. 7, 2016. At the time, Matthew was a Category 3 storm with 120 mph winds. Image credit: NASA.

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  1. As a non- resident owner, I have been impressed by and
    appreciative of Connie Leinbach’s well-written, up-date and informative articles. Captioned photos terrific as well! Until now, it has been difficult or impossible to get timely information about the island, so thank you very much! We are watching closely with great concern as this enormous storm just keeps on coming, with great hope and optimism is no real harm done.

    • Thanks, Linda. We’re trying and will do whatever we can during this weather event. Rain and wind has just picked up here. We certainly hope all in this storm’s path fare well!