The Hyde County Board of Commissioners has declared a state of emergency effective at 5 a.m. Monday (Sept. 25) for all of Hyde County and a mandatory visitor evacuation of Ocracoke Island due to the threat of Hurricane Maria.
Direct impacts from the storm include tropical storm-force winds and storm surge of two to four feet along the Outer Banks, the county said in a press release.
During a state of emergency, only residents, homeowners or vendors with an Ocracoke re-entry sticker on their vehicles will be allowed on ferries inbound to Ocracoke.
Priority boarding will be suspended for all vessels leaving Ocracoke. All NCDOT ferry reservations are canceled and all tolls are waived. Boarding the ferries will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Evacuation procedures will remain in effect for all Ocracoke-bound ferries until Hyde County lifts the evacuation order.
NCDOT expects ocean over wash to occur on Highway 12 with the approach of Hurricane Maria and worsen as the storm nears the coast. The county recommends that visitors start their evacuation as soon as possible and use the sound route ferries when evacuating.
Based on current forecasts, wind speeds could cause the suspension of ferry services early Tuesday morning, potentially making Monday night the last runs available. Decisive action is necessary for Ocracoke visitors to ensure they arrive at their destinations safely.
All of Hyde County is currently under a tropical storm watch.
Impacts occur well beyond the cone of error and tropical storm-force winds extend up to 230+ miles from the center of the storm.
Hyde county in its press release urged people to have multiple ways to receive weather alerts as there is the potential for severe weather.
In addition, the county urges all to ensure their hurricane preparedness plans are in place and to be able to sustain a household for up to 72 hours after a storm. All outdoor furniture and any other loose objects should be secured.
Any updates regarding Hyde County can be found on the county web page here and social media outlets.
The Ocracoke Observer will provide regular updates on its web site: ocracokeobserver.com and on its Faceboook page.
Here are latest updates from the National Weather Service: