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Storm winds abate; NC 12 reopened; ferry service resumes

Silver Lake Drive at high tide Monday morning. Photo: P. Vankevich

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This story has been updated: At 6 p.m. the Ferry Division reported the Hatteras to Ocracoke run will have 2 scheduled departures tonight, 6 and 9 p.m.  Ocracoke to Hatteras will have one departure at 7:30 p.m.  For updates regarding tomorrow’s Dec. 11 departures, call operations at 252-996-6000, or check their Twitter feed

By Peter Vankevich 

The early winter storm affecting North Carolina and Virginia brought up to 20 inches of snow in parts of the state, with three reported deaths in N.C., and caused disruptions to weekend events on Ocracoke including cancellations of some holiday activities.

On Friday, Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency for the entire state and today urged all to continue using caution in dealing with the storm’s effects.  As inland temperatures drop to freezing tonight, travelers should be particularly wary of black ice, which occurs when a thin layer of water on the road freezes and creates extremely dangerous, slippery conditions.

On Ocracoke, the storm brought approximately three inches of rain, high surf, street flooding and sustained winds in the 30 and 40 m.p.h. range with higher gusts. 

The National Weather Service in Morehead City reported that North Carolina’s highest wind gust during this storm, 70 mph, was recorded on Ocracoke. Sustained winds of 20 m.p.h. or greater are expected to continue for our area into Tuesday. 

A power outage Sunday night on the island was due to a double circuit pole at the Graveyard of the Atlantic that started burning. There were spotty outages during Sunday evening on Ocracoke and all customers lost power at 11:20 p.m. Tideland EMC announced at 3:53 a.m. that power was restored.

Bufflehead in Ocracoke yard. Photo: P. Vankevich.

In the village, flooding around Silver Lake occurred around high tide this morning (9:19 a.m.) and parts of the village had standing water from the rain and tide. 

The real damage was on NC 12 where the ocean again breached the area north of the pony pens allowing water and sand to pile onto the road. 

NCDOT closed that part of the highway mid-morning.  Hyde County Emergency Services announced at 4 p.m. that the road was reopened but with sand and standing water at various locations.  Drivers are strongly urged to use caution as road conditions could change given the weather.

Buffleheads, small wintering ducks, and the local mallards were seen in flooded yards and along NC 12, taking advantage of the extra aquatic habitat.

Dune breach from winter storm on Ocracoke’s NC 12 a few miles south of the Hatteras ferry terminal. Photo: Richard Taylor

On Hatteras Island, N.C. 12 is open, but has standing water and sand in the usual locations. Drivers are urged to use caution in these areas.

The Sunday afternoon Local Shopping Day and the annual OPS Historic Homes Holiday Tour were postponed.  The Local Shopping Day is rescheduled for noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, and the new date for the homes tour is not yet known. 

Stormy Ocracoke, Dec. 10, 2018. Photo: P. Vankevich

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