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Ferry Division ceases ferry runs until Dorian passes

Islanders catch some big swells at the Lifeguard Beach on Wednesday, Sept. 4. Photo: Richard Taylor

Sept. 4, 2019. Observer staff report

Ocracoke island made further preparations Wednesday for the arrival of Hurricane Dorian.

While visitors and residents were ordered to evacuate, many residents elected to stay.

The N.C. Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division on Wednesday ended evacuation operations for Ocracoke Island.

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.

According to a Hyde County press release, Hurricane Dorian is a strong category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph as of the 5 pm update. Hyde County is currently expecting sustained winds of 80 to 90 mph with gusts over 100 mph.

The Pony Island Motel office gets boarded up. Photo: Richard Taylor

Rainfall totals are predicted to be between 8 to 10 inches with localized areas of up to 15 inches. Storm surge levels could range between 3 to 6 feet. Tropical conditions are expected to begin Thursday night and continue into Friday. 

Ferry Division managers will monitor weather conditions and resume service as soon as it is safe to do so. Hyde County emergency managers will then determine when to lift the evacuation orders for Ocracoke residents and visitors.

Islanders park their vehicles on high ground before the storm. Photo: C. Leinbach

Islanders enjoy some pre-storm surfing. Photo: Richard Taylor