By Connie Leinbach and Peter Vankevich
As Tropical Storm Ian worked its way through central North Carolina Friday afternoon, Ocracoke has largely been spared, but received high, gusty winds and rain beginning Thursday night and into Friday that caused suspension of the ferry service. By Friday evening, it had tapered to intermittent rain.
The storm event for the Outer Banks was caused by a collision of a cold front and moist tropical air from the outer edges of Hurricane Ian.
Saturday morning, the skies were bright and the winds diminished to the mid-teens mph and is expected to stay that way for most of the day.
The N.C. Ferry Division announced Friday evening that the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry route will resume regular service as of 5 a.m. Saturday morning.
The Pamlico Sound ferry routes, Ocracoke/Cedar Island/Swan Quarter, also resumed normal schedules on Saturday.
Water was on N.C. 12 north of the pony pens and it was reported that the sandbags along a portion of the north end had broken and is now cleared.
As of Friday at 5 p.m., NCDOT reported that N.C. 12 remains open and passible. There is still sand and standing water in several locations and they urged motorists to slow down and drive with extreme caution.
At 6:12 Friday morning, Ocracoke lost power but it was restored at 8:49 a.m. Tideland Electric Member Cooperative reported that a downed wire near the Hatteras Civic Center caused a pole fire, causing the outage. Crew from the Hatteras Fire Company and Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative responded.
Another power outage occurred Saturday morning around 6 a.m. caused by salt accumulation on the lines and equipment near the pony pen, according to a dispatch by Tideland. Power was restored around 7:30 a.m.
On Friday, Ocracoke’s typical puddle spots were comparable to those after a big rainstorm and there was some minor high tide flooding in the village. Friday evening, Ocracoke and mainland Hyde remained under a tropical storm warning and storm surge watch. A tornado warning was issued by the National Weather Service for the region until 10 p.m.
Hurricane Ian will go down as one of the most devastating and costly storms to hit the United States. After slamming the southwest coast of Florida, just shy of a Category 5, with record setting high storm surges, it continued its destruction marching across the state and into the Atlantic Ocean where it regained strength. It made landfall again near Georgetown, South Carolina, this time as a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 85 mph.
By the time Hurricane Ian reached inland North Carolina it was downgraded to a post-Tropical Cyclone and moved across the state Friday night headed to western Virginia.
Dangerous marine conditions, including rip currents, will continue for all offshore waters and the Pamlico Sound.
Widespread rainfall amounts of two to six inches occurred across the state with locally higher totals up to eight inches.
A Flash Flood Watch on Saturday morning was still in effect for all of North Carolina except southwestern portions of the state.