Hurricane Irma 2017

Minor effects from Irma forecasted for Ocracoke

The Cedar Island and Swan Quarter ferries are canceled Monday afternoon (Sept. 11) due to high winds. 

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While the Caribbean and Florida are reeling from the devastation over the weekend of Hurricane Irma, Ocracoke has been feeling the winds of the storm’s outer edges.

Irma has been downgraded to a tropical storm with lesser, though still dangerous, wind speeds.

The National Hurricane Center reported this morning that the latest forecasts continue to indicate a northwestward track for Irma toward Georgia and Tennessee.

The potential for isolated tornadoes will also pose a threat on Tuesday with strong wind gusts on the Outer Banks.

NCDOT has continued to post this advisory on the electronic sign at the north end of Ocracoke village. Photo: C. Leinbach

Dangerous surf and rip currents will continue along the coast through the next several days and the southeastern beaches and areas along the Cape Fear River may see some minor flooding.

Yesterday, the state took additional steps to prepare for Irma by opening three N.C. National Guard staging areas and five shelters in preparation. The National Guard is positioning soldiers and equipment in Greensboro, Charlotte and Asheville.

 “People still need to pay careful attention to the forecast and local media and be sure they’re ready,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a press release. “In the meantime, we can help others who need a safe place to stay while fleeing this storm.”

This weekend, emergency management teams and the Red Cross opened five shelters in Gaston, Guilford, Henderson, Johnston and Mecklenburg counties to help those evacuating from other states. These sites are located just off major interstates, and all accept pets. Citizens can visit ReadyNC.Org or download the ReadyNC mobile app to get exact shelter locations. People can also call 2-1-1 for more information.

The U.S. Coast Guard is urging mariners to use extreme caution if they must venture off the North Carolina coast.

The coastal impacts currently predicted include large surf, potential coastal flooding, and tropical storm level winds potentially into Tuesday.

“Mariners should submit a voyage plan with family and/or friends, ensure they have the proper safety equipment, with PFDs for everyone aboard and flares,” said Cmdr. Quincy L. Davis, deputy sector commander for Sector North Carolina.  “We also urge mariners to have proper communication equipment, preferably a radio appropriate for the marine environment.” 

Follow N.C. Emergency Management on Twitter and Facebook for the latest on Hurricane Irma. You can also get real-time traffic and weather on the ReadyNC mobile app.

The N.C. Dept. of Transportation today urged urging drone hobbyists not to fly while disaster relief and response efforts are ongoing.

While licensed and well-trained professional drone operators can be a huge help in disaster response efforts, hobbyists get in the way more often than not. In a number of recent natural disasters, including wildfires in the western U.S., recreational drone users flying without authorization have forced emergency responders to cease operations out of concern for the safety of their crews, the NCDOT said in a press release.

During and after a disaster, the Federal Aviation Administration often imposes temporary flight restrictions over affected areas.  Drone users should always check the FAA TFR website before attempting to fly, even under normal conditions.

“The last thing you want is for someone to be left on their roof because a helicopter rescue had to be called off due to your drone,” the NCDOT said.