Update: As of 8 a.m. Sunday, Hatteras Inlet ferries have resumed and all of NC 12 is passable.
Ocracoke Island was drying out Saturday as Tropical Storm Ophelia made landfall south of Ocracoke on Emerald Isle around 6 a.m. and was heading north into mainland North Carolina and northward.
The sun peaked out of scattered overhead clouds and the wind, though still strong on the beach, had been dying down since the morning. Sunday’s forecast is for sunny weather and wind speeds in the low mph teens.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS) bulletins, a storm surge warning is still in effect for Ocracoke inlet.
Ferry service remained suspended on Saturday afternoon.
While the highest winds have passed, flooding is still a substantial threat, the NWS said on Facebook.
The easterly wind flow is expected to peak sometime in the late afternoon on Saturday, and as the storm moves north, the wind will switch to the south and southwest.
As the shift occurs, wind speed will also drop, which could lead to a quick return of sound water that was pushed west.
Should this occur, the potential for soundside flooding impacts will increase, and 2-4 feet of above-ground inundation is possible.
High tide for Ocracoke is at 2:31 p.m.
To sign up to receive alerts if water levels in your area begin to rise due to storm surge, visit www.FIMAN.NC.gov and select the flood gauge(s) located in the waterway you’d like to monitor in real-time.
On the forecast track, the center of Ophelia will move across eastern North Carolina this morning, and then move into southeastern Virginia and the Delmarva Peninsula by the end of today and into Sunday.
Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 65 mph (105 km/h) with higher gusts. Further weakening is expected through the rest of the weekend, and Ophelia is likely to become a post-tropical cyclone tonight or Sunday morning.
A drive around Ocracoke village Friday evening before dark and Saturday showed puddles of water in locations typically seen in storms.
Ocean conditions will remain unsafe for swimming for the next several days. The public should check surf and swimming conditions before heading to the beach, and the daily beach forecast at www.weather.gov/beach/mhx includes rip current risk levels, and information about other hazards along the shoreline.
Wind gusts from Ophelia were measured as high as 72 mph at Cape Lookout Saturday morning.
More than 80,000 customers had lost power as of 8 a.m., according to PowerOutage.US, with about one half of that number in North Carolina.