For news on Hurricane Florence and on Ocracoke, click here.
Sept. 15, 2018. 12:55 a.m.
By Connie Leinbach
Hyde County officials are dealing with flooding from Hurricane Florence on mainland Hyde and have been out assessing the flooding conditions throughout the county today.
The Ocracoke Deputy Control Group will meet today at 6 p.m., said Donnie Shumate, Hyde County public information officer, holed up with several other county officials in Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in the public safety building on Main Street.
Shumate stressed that Hyde County is the only official source for information regarding conditions in the county. They will post updates on the conditions to social media sites as they get them, and anyone can call the EOC at 252-926-3715 for updates.
Tom Pahl, Ocracoke’s Hyde County commissioner, posted on Facebook today the following:
“I will push hard for re-entry as soon as it might be possible, fully aware that everyone is anxious to get back ASAP.
“Even though the island is in great shape, we need access roads and ferries (or a road and a ferry) operational before we can open up.
“Yes, Dare County is ahead of us on re-entry – and that’s because they are more confident than we are regarding their roads.
“On the mainland, there is flooding in several locations currently blocking access into Swan Quarter.
“The condition of the Ocracoke piece of Highway 12 is being assessed; there is some thought that it may require more than just scraping the sand off.
“The N.C. Ferry Division will need to weigh in on any concerns they may have about water level, ramps, shoaling, etc.
“As of this morning Hyde County was still doing some water rescue on the mainland.
“All of these factors will play into the timing of re-entry and will be a part of the discussion later today.”
The North Carolina Ferry Division Saturday morning sent out a tweet that the Currituck-Knotts Island ferry is back in business and the other six routes are busily working on getting back in service as soon as it’s safe to do so.
Today, the flooding on the mainland is still evolving, and Shumate advises all residents and travelers to remain patient and stay where you are for another day at least. While Swan Quarter is relatively dry, flooding is still occurring in multiple parts of the county, especially Engelhard.
As of 10:45 a.m. today, Highway 264 from the Beaufort County line to Rose Bay is still impassable as is the area along the Alligator River Wildlife Refuge, to Dare County, Shumate said.
Shumate said the Hyde County Sheriff’s Office is prepared to rescue residents in either the National Guard’s high-rise truck or one of the N.C. Wildlife Resources boats.
“The sheriff’s office went door-to-door last night in the areas that are flooded to rescue people,” he said. One elderly couple took them up on it, Shumate said. “The flooding was worse this morning than last night.”
He said that if anyone is in a flooded area and needs to be evacuated, call the EOC. A local shelter is setup in the O.A. Peay School gymnasium, with some residents using it, he said. Meals-ready-to-eat (MREs), water and tarps are available if needed.
Since the storm began, Shumate reported that there have been no injuries or loss of life in Hyde County.
“We had one stranded motorist at Route 45 in Ponzer and one bee sting that was treated and released,” he said.
He said there are reports that flood levels are rising in Tyrrell County in the Highway 94 area. State officials have recommended that nobody travels east of I-95 at this time although entry into Dare County was opened at 7 a.m. today.
The mandatory evacuation order in Hyde County is still in effect and a curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. is still in effect county-wide. All sales of alcohol are still prohibited while the evacuation order is in effect, per North Carolina law.
Hyde County officials urge travelers not to attempt to drive though water that is crossing over the streets. A couple inches of flowing water can move a car off the road.