Hurricane Dorian on Ocracoke

Debris removal begins on Ocracoke; nighttime curfew still in place

Debris removal from Ocracoke village began on Saturday and is being staged at the Lifeguard Beach parking lot: Photo: C. Leinbach

By Connie Leinbach

Day 11 post-Hurricane Dorian: Things at the command center in the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department building are a little less hectic than they were the afternoon of Sept. 6 and in the immediate days following, though island residents’ needs are no less urgent.  Mountains of debris line the streets as residents haul out all manner of personal belongings and demolition debris. The following are some updates on Ocracoke services as of midday Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019:

Donations and help: Ocracoke has been flooded with goods and services to help recover and rebuild from the devastation of Hurricane Dorian on Sept. 6, but Ocracoke still will need help for many months to come. Those with services and goods are asked to email ocracokedisasterrelief@gmail.com with offers of goods and services. Although you will get a canned response initially, someone will get back to you.

Beach access: As of 9 a.m. today, all those with ORV permits may drive on the beach at South Point Road and the Airport ramp.

Curfew: With the mandatory evacuation still in place on Ocracoke, post-Hurricane Dorian restrictions, such as no alcohol sales and the nighttime curfew are still in effect and will be for a while, officials said Monday.

The 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew was enacted after Hurricane Dorian swamped the island on Sept. 6.

“If you’re out past 10 you’ll probably get stopped and questioned,” said Capt. Jason Daniels, the head of the Hyde County sheriff deputies on Ocracoke.

Since the hurricane passed and devastated the island, among the many responders and crews are additional deputies from surrounding counties to give the island 24-hour deputy coverage, Daniels said, including Marine Fisheries officers.

Daniels was reluctant to give specifics, but he and Sheriff Guire Cahoon, who was on the island immediately after the hurricane, said they are keeping their eyes on a few of the groups that have arrived on the island to help with recovery.

“Events like this bring out the good in people,” Daniels said. A lot of people come over to help. It also brings out bad people looking to scheme and profit from loss.”

He urged islanders to be wary and be careful.

“If you suspect any fraud contact any deputy,” he said. “We all have to keep a cool head. We got a long road ahead of us.”

NC 12 closed: The National Park Service has closed N.C. 12 at the NPS campground to remove dangling tree limbs over the road near the maritime forest, said Law Enforcement Ranger Shane Bryan. Park Service crews also are working on repairing the pony pens.

Local help: Jennifer Mongan, who has been the right hand to Ivey Belch, the commodities distribution

Volunteers at the OVFD command center Jennifer Mongan, right, chats with Susan Dippold. Photo: C. Leinbach

manager at the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department, went back to work today (Tuesday, Sept. 17) at Ocracoke Island Realty, and won’t be at the firehouse all day as she has been for the last several days.

On Monday, she visited some islanders without cars and stuck at their houses and wants them to know that they can email her with specific needs at oincdrp@gmail.com.

“I can’t promise I can fix it or get an answer, but I’ll do my best to find out,” she said. “This is locals helping locals.”

When emailing, put your name in the subject line, she said.

More tetanus shots: The Hyde County Health Department will administer free tetanus shots on Wednesday, starting at 10:30 a.m., at the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department.

Mainland residents who wish to receive tetanus shots, call 252-926-4399 to make an appointment at the Hyde County Health Department in Swan Quarter.

Debris removal: Has begun around the island. The project manager at the Lifeguard Beach where all the debris is being stored temporarily, said he expects removal to take four to six weeks. During that time, there is no public access at the Lifeguard Beach. 

The Variety Store: Now has electricity and almost all of the cooler boxes are running but not for frozen food and ice cream, said Tommy Hutcherson, proprietor. A few days ago, he received a food order and has some fresh meats and produce. Today, Conner’s Market in Buxton arrived with nine employees to help him stock the store.

“I got more than 1,700 pieces of stock today and it’s almost all stocked because of them,” he said.  

Someone has a sense of humor with their Hurricane Dorian-flooded debris. Photo: C. Leinbach

Islander Kelley Shinn adds some levity to her golf cart as she scuds around the island. Photo: C. Leinbach

N.C. 12 from the NPS campground is closed temporarily while NPS crews remove dangerous, dangling tree limbs in the maritime forest. Photo: C. Leinbach

6 replies »

  1. Hi Connie and Peter,
    I want to let you know how much I depend on and appreciate the Observer during these days since Dorian. I am not on fb and do not want to pester my Ocracoke friends.
    Sincerely,
    Mary Bedwell
    Memphis TN

  2. Hi,
    Me too on Mary’s response below. Your articles help those of us not on the island, who love the island, same informed and know the best ways to help.
    Thank you,
    Toni Keller Perrone
    Brooklyn, NY

  3. Hello! It’s Donn Hampton & Rick Jones – longtime devotees of our beloved Ocracoke Island – and we so immensely appreciate your coverage of the devastation from Hurricane Dorian…and the ensuing H O P E. We’re in touch regularly with local resident/friends – and also rely on your reporting and photos. We plan to be there soon to volunteer…in the meantime, we’re sending love and money to the island and its people who’ve given so much to us. (Hi, Peter!)