Many businesses and houses took precautions as Dorian approaches. Photo: P. Vankevich

The Ocracoke Observer will provide updates on Hurricane Dorian. To follow this news, check out the home page.

Sept. 5, 2019. 10:30 a.m.  Observer staff report

Folks in eastern North Carolina woke up to bad news today.  Hurricane Dorian strengthened Wednesday night.  At 5 a.m. this morning, the center of the storm was 105 miles southeast of Charleston with Category 3 winds  at 115 mph, 10 miles faster than on Tuesday.

The major life-threatening storm has also grown with hurricane winds extending 60 miles from the center and tropical-storm force winds extending 200 miles and is expected to have a devastating impact in much of eastern North Carolina.

The exact track is still uncertain, but Hyde County Emergency Services reported last night that Dorian is anticipated to make landfall in Carteret County and move across the Pamlico Sound hitting the Outer Banks Thursday night into Friday morning.

Although the National Weather Service projects Dorian could weaken somewhat by the time it strikes Ocracoke, it is still expected to have sustained winds at 94 mph with a maximum of 117 mph gusts.

Ocracoke is expected to get six to 10 inches of rain and four to six feet of storm surge and water rising rapidly on the sound side. Dangerous to extreme surf conditions are anticipated on the entire Outer Banks and the Pamlico and Albemarle sounds. Tornadoes are also possible.

Islanders park their vehicles on high ground before the storm. Photo P. Vankevich

Although a mandatory evacuation was ordered for all of Hyde County, many Ocracoke residents have opted to stay. The higher grounds such as the National Park Service parking lot and along Route 12 in the village had lots of vehicles waiting out the storm.

Hyde and Dare counties have sent out multiple robocalls and text messages warning of the life-threatening dangers of the hurricane and urging people to evacuate. Everyone should be aware of the potential life-threatening capability of this monster storm and stay sheltered once it begins.

Emergency Medical Services in Hyde County will be suspended at the onset of tropical storm force winds, which will persist for approximately 18 hours.

The Hyde County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is now activated and will remain operational throughout the duration of this storm. If you have any concerns or need assistance call the EOC at 252-926-3715. If you have an emergency call 911. Continue monitoring our social media outlets and website for updates.

Ferry service to Ocracoke ceased Wednesday afternoon. Over the course of the evacuation on Tuesday and Wednesday, the North Carolina Ferry System evacuated 1,441 people and 756 vehicles from Ocracoke on the Hatteras, Cedar Island and Swan Quarter routes, the division said in a press release.  Ferries and ferry employees will now be staged in safe harbor areas to await the resumption of service once the storm passes.

Dorian developed from a tropical wave on Aug. 24 in the Central Atlantic becoming a hurricane on Aug. 28. It gradually intensified while moving toward the Lesser Antilles and on Sept. 1 reached Category 5 intensity, peaking with one-minute sustained winds of 185 mph.

It is one of the most powerful hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean ever. Dorian stalled for two days and caused devastating damage to Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands.

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