By Connie Leinbach
Officials on Ocracoke are optimistic that the island will open Monday for visitors, Hyde County Manager Bill Rich said today.
“We will make a final determination on Saturday,” Rich said, noting that the island is expecting high winds tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday which may bring more tide onto an already soaked island. “Friday will be the windiest.”
The group making the determination is the Ocracoke Deputy Control Group, composed of county officials, law enforcement officials and business owners who assess emergencies and make recommendations to the Hyde County commissioners.
Dare County began letting visitors back onto the southern Outer Banks on Thursday, and will let visitors into Frisco on Friday and Hatteras on Saturday.
In the meantime, he said the debris contractor is scheduled to arrive on the island on Tuesday and begin pick up island-wide on Wednesday.
Rich said David Hallac, superintendent of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, has offered help and will allow the debris to be taken to the Lifeguard Beach parking lot where the debris contractor will determine how many trash disposal transports will be needed for the job.
He said a group of four United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) volunteers will arrive on the island tomorrow to determine how they can help anywhere islanders need it.
Anyone needing physical help with repairs, cutting trees, hauling or whatever should visit them tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 13) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 8 a.m to noon Saturday in the Community Center.
After that, they will assess what is needed and gear up based on demand, Rich said.
He also said he expects to hear today or tomorrow (Friday) whether Hyde County has received “Individual Assistance” designation from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This designation will expedite islanders’ obtaining financial assistance for losses from the storm.
Rich said once the designation is obtained, Gov. Pat McCrory’s office will supply the correct forms on the Hyde County website.
“People will be able to begin to fill out the forms to get a jump on this process,” Rich said.
Island businesses are beginning to reopen. Among those open are Jason’s Restaurant, Ocracoke Bar & Grille, Zillie’s Island Pantry and Island Vibe. The Magic Bean Coffee Shop is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m and until 4 p.m. on Sunday. The Ocracoke Coffee Shop is open mornings beginning at 7 a.m. Daijo reopens Friday through Sunday from 5 to 10 p.m., and the Flying Melon is open from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Eduardo’s Taco Stand opens for breakfast tomorrow and Gaffer’s opens tomorrow at 3 p.m.
Howard’s Pub will open as soon as visitors are allowed.
The Variety Store resumes its seasonal 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. open hours tomorrow; the Community Store is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow through the weekend. Both received deliveries today and are well stocked.
The WOVV radio tower was destroyed during Hurricane Matthew and they are unable to broadcast by radio. Citizens can tune in and obtain the most current Ocracoke news by live streaming their programs at www.wovv.org.
Ocracoke School goes back into session on Friday and its Homecoming event will go on as scheduled, starting with a hot dog sale at 4:30 p.m.
Hyde County has waived all permit fees for reconstruction necessary due to Hurricane Matthew, however permits are still required by the Hyde County Building Inspector’s Office.
Latest weather forecast:
Over the weekend, islanders should prepare for more weather challenges since a coastal flood advisory from the National Weather Service is in effect now until 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Minor to moderate coastal flooding and a high threat of rip currents along the Outer Banks is forecast for all beaches through Friday evening.
Water levels of one to two feet above normal are expected through Friday adjacent to Pamlico Sound then increasing to 2 to 3 feet above normal this weekend into early next week.
Gusty north winds will result in higher water levels on the Pamlico Sound on Friday. Water levels will remain elevated on the sound through early next week due to large amounts of flood waters draining into the tidal creeks from Matthews heavy rains.
High astronomical tides will create minor to moderate coastal flooding this weekend into early next week. High water will flood roads and may impact some properties.