Editor’s note: The impact of Hurricane Dorian will be updated frequently. To follow the news, click here.
This story has been updated at 5:45 p.m., Sept. 2
In advance of Hurricane Dorian, the Hyde County Board of Commissioners today ordered a mandatory evacuation of Ocracoke for all starting Tuesday.
Visitors must leave the island starting at 5 a.m. and the mandatory evacuation for residents will go into effect at 5 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4.
The Hyde County Mainland Deputy Control Group will meet again at 10 a.m. Tuesday to discuss the forecast and any additional emergency protective measures necessitated by the weather conditions.
The Hyde County Board of Commissioners monthly meeting scheduled for Tuesday has been postponed and will be rescheduled. Ocracoke School will be open on Tuesday and will be closed the duration of the week.
Only residents, homeowners, or vendors with an Ocracoke re-entry pass on their vehicles will be allowed on ferries inbound to Ocracoke beginning at 5 a.m. Tuesday.
Priority boarding will be suspended for all vessels leaving Ocracoke, and tolls have been waived for ferries heading from Ocracoke to Cedar Island or Swan Quarter.
The three ferry routes will run their published schedules. The final departure from Ocracoke to Swan Quarter will be at 3:45 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4, and the final departure from Ocracoke to Cedar Island will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday.
The final departure from Ocracoke to Hatteras will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday.
The Ocracoke Express passenger ferry will end service for the 2019 season at the end of the day today.
“Dorian has the potential to create serious flooding and storm surge on Ocracoke Island,” said Ferry Division Director Harold Thomas. “We hope everyone will take heed of the evacuation orders and leave as soon as possible.”
A mandatory evacuation has been issued for all Dare County visitors beginning at noon, Tuesday, Sept. 3. A mandatory evacuation order for all Dare County residents becomes effective at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 4. Ocracoke residents will be allowed to transit through Dare County while the evacuation is underway. Dare County Schools will be closed Wednesday for the duration of the week.
Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency on Friday, urging people to prepare for heavy rains and storm-force winds as Dorian is forecast to approach the state later this week.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site and Wright Brothers National Memorial will suspend all visitor services beginning at 8 a.m. Tuesday. All Off-Road Vehicle Ramps and Routes will close to off-road vehicle access at 9 p.m. Monday evening. Campers in Oregon Inlet, Cape Point, Frisco and Ocracoke Campgrounds must vacate by 10 a.m. on Tuesday.
The National Hurricane Center has initiated probabilistic surge mapping and low-lying areas of Hyde County, including Ocracoke Island, could start receiving storm surge of greater than one foot above the ground within the next three days.
Locally higher amounts of greater than three feet above the ground are forecast for areas surrounding the Pungo River and Lake Mattamuskeet. This is well ahead of the Dorian’s arrival, which is projected to occur on Thursday into Friday, and these values will only increase over the coming days.
In addition, the Weather Prediction Center has forecast six to 10 inches of precipitation to accumulate across Hyde County, including Ocracoke Island, over the next seven days.
The combination of higher than normal tides, storm surge, and building surf conditions significantly threaten the transportation routes that serve Ocracoke Island. The dunes that protect Highway 12 on Ocracoke are already being weakened during high tide cycles and it is possible that dune overwash precedes the peak weather conditions. When evaluating your evacuation plans, this needs to be taken into consideration.
The Hyde County Emergency Services Department will continue to monitor the forecast for Hurricane Dorian and issue advisories as appropriate.
For the most current and official information please monitor the National Hurricane Center website at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.