Potential impacts from tomorrow through Wednesday include 25-35 mph sustained winds with gusts up to 50 mph, minor to moderate flooding along all ocean-side Seashore beaches and significant beach erosion.
Ferry service could be disrupted due to the high winds and the NC Ferry Division gave a heads-up that routes could be temporarily suspended later this week, due to the Subtropical Storm Nicole forecast to impact North Carolina from Thursday into Saturday. Updates on suspensions and schedule changes can be found on Twitter :@NCDOT_Ferry and its Facebook page.
Travel along N.C. Highway 12 may be challenging due to ocean overwash and beach erosion. Additional impacts associated with Subtropical Storm Nicole will become clearer in the coming days as forecast confidence grows.
Visitors to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore should use caution this week on all ocean-side Seashore beaches.
Shoaling in this slough no longer allows the Ferry Division’s vessels to safely navigate the current channel, which has become dangerously shallow, leading to several instances in which ferries bumped the bottom of the channel and needed costly repairs to fix damage to the vessels, according to a press release.
“This is not something we take lightly,’ said Interim Ferry Division Director Jed Dixon. “But the safety of our passengers and crews is our top priority, and conditions in Barney Slough have deteriorated such that it is no longer possible to continue operating there.”
The ACE said it will dredge for seven days, weather permitting.
When the ACE leaves the channel, the Ferry Division will revisit conditions in Barney Slough to determine whether it can safely resume operations there.
Travelers seeking alternate routes to and from Ocracoke Island can use the Cedar Island or Swan Quarter routes, which both operate three round trips daily and accept reservations.
By Sam Walker, courtesy of WOBX Published November 28, 2023
The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season that came to an end Nov. 30 will be remembered for two late-summer storms that left their legacies on eastern North Carolina in what was one of the busiest seasons in the last eight decades.
The above-average year of activity was characterized by record-warm Atlantic sea surface temperatures, and for producing the most named storms in what is considered a strong El Nino year, according to federal forecasters.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently released their summary of activity in the Atlantic basin for 2023, which saw 20 named storms, ranking fourth for the most in a year since 1950.
Seven storms were hurricanes and three intensified to major hurricanes. An average season has 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
Hurricane Idalia was the only U.S. landfalling hurricane in 2023. It made landfall as a category-3 hurricane on Aug. 30 near Keaton Beach, Florida, causing storm surge inundation of 7 to 12 feet and widespread rainfall flooding in Florida and throughout the southeast.
The following week, three people died in the span of three days while swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, which was still churned up from waves caused by both Idalia and distant Hurricane Franklin.
And waves from the two storms led to the closing of a stretch of beach north of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse due to apparent fuel leaking from the sand at the site of former Navy/Coast Guard facilities in Buxton.
Hurricane Lee made landfall as a post-tropical cyclone in Nova Scotia, Canada, on Sept. 16. Swells generated by Lee caused dangerous surf and rip currents along the entire U.S. Atlantic coast. Strong winds with hurricane‑force gusts from Lee caused extensive power outages in Maine and in parts of Canada.
The rest of September was also marked by storms passing offshore that generated large swells and dangerous rip currents, with numerous high risk of rip currents days along the beaches.
“The Atlantic basin produced the most named storms of any El Nino influenced year in the modern record,” said Matthew Rosencrans, lead hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center — a division of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “The record-warm ocean temperatures in the Atlantic provided a strong counterbalance to the traditional El Nino impacts.”
The eastern Pacific basin hurricane season was also above normal with 17 named storms, of which 10 were hurricanes and eight of those major hurricanes. Hurricane season activity for the eastern Pacific fell within predicted ranges.
“Another active hurricane season comes to a close where hazards from the storms extended well inland from the landfall location,” said NOAA National Hurricane Center Director Michael Brennan, Ph.D. “This underscores the importance of having a plan to stay safe whether you’re at the coast or inland.”
The agency said this lead time gave those in threatened areas more time to prepare and respond, and there were no storm surge fatalities from Idalia despite storm surge inundation of as much as 12 feet above ground level in some areas.
Further, extending the National Hurricane Center’s tropical weather outlook product from five to seven days, this season provided emergency managers more time to prepare and stage resources before a storm.
NOAA’s hurricane research and response
This season, NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft flew 468 mission hours to collect atmospheric data that is critical to hurricane forecasting and research, passing through the eye of a hurricane 120 times and deploying over 1,400 scientific instruments. Since 2020 through this 2023 season, NOAA’s two Lockheed WP-3D Orion have flown 40% more hurricane mission flights than the preceding four years (2016-2019).
NOAA celebrated the first operational launch of a Black Swift drone from a NOAA WP-3D Orion to gather atmospheric data in and around Hurricane Tammy. Further, the first successful coordination of a low-flying drone (Anduril’s Altius 600), atmospheric profilers (dropsondes), and ocean profilers (bathythermographs) also launched from a NOAA WP-3D Orion. Observations and information from these deployments are being evaluated to determine the feasibility of using the data to help with hurricane forecasting in the future.
NOAA’s Beechcraft King Air flew 28 mission hours to collect aerial imagery used for emergency response after Hurricanes Idalia and Lee. Following Hurricane Idalia, NOAA’s National Ocean Service provided support to enable safe maritime navigation, gathering survey data for 36.8 linear nautical miles and identifying 29 potential obstructions along Florida’s coastal waterways. NOAA also worked to identify hazards caused by capsized vessels, damaged docks and piers, parts of homes and other types of marine debris, and shared findings with Florida’s debris task force following Hurricane Idalia.
NOAA’s geostationary and polar-orbiting weather satellites provided vital information for monitoring and forecasting the hurricanes and tropical weather that threatened our lives and property this season. Forecasters used one-minute geostationary satellite imagery to assess structure changes during the rapid intensity of storms such as Idalia, Lee and Otis.
NOAA’s polar-orbiting satellites orbit the Earth from pole to pole 14 times a day, providing full global coverage twice daily. Throughout the hurricane season, these satellites made sophisticated and precise observations of the atmosphere, ocean and land, which were critical to developing daily and 3-5 day forecasts.
The fun was apparent on Thanksgiving morning as runners and walkers from on and off Ocracoke assembled outside 1718 Brewing Ocracoke for the 9th annual Turkey Trot.
Some wore matching shirts, some wore funny holiday hats, a few ran with their dogs. One islander dressed as a cob of corn.
This year, the most ever, at 193, signed up to run the 5K through Ocracoke Village, said Angie Todd, race director, but only 152 finished.
Dashing over the finish line first was Shea Woods, 18, of Huntington Valley, Pa., with a time of 16:57 minutes.
Denis Dominguez of Ocracoke followed close behind at 17:07 minutes.
Samuel Loyack of Durham came in third overall at 19:56.
Katja Weber, 22, of Durham, was the top female runner and 15th overall with a time of 24:52.
This was her fourth year running to try to keep pace with her brother, Alexander, 18, who finished ninth at 22:39.
“It’s been super fun watching it grow,” Katja said as she caught her breath.
Duncan McClain, 12, was the first kid to cross the finish line, and 11th overall, with a time of 23:40.
Corbin Futrell, 5, was among the youths participating and finished with a time of 43:18.
“My legs feel so tired,” he yelled as he went with his twin brother and mother Chelsea to recover. “Why did I do that?”
Others, like Rachael Chestnut, who wore the corn-cob costume and walked along with her husband, Robert, were not in it for the competition.
“Fun time!” she said.
Charlotte Sussman, 58, of Durham was in the race for the ninth time, although her first time, which was the first race nine years ago, wasn’t official.
She was just out for a morning run on Thanksgiving nine years ago.
“People were clapping and yelling at me that I was doing great,” she said. “And I thought, ‘Wow. This is a really friendly place.’”
The first several trots were true fun runs and three years ago they began to employ race professionals Run the East, the same company that times the Scallywag 5K/10K/half-marathon in April, to make the trot times official.
Prizes for the winners are various holiday pies, a tradition that began with the first trot.
“It’s incredible what it’s grown into,” Todd said. “Last year was the first year we made this into a fundraiser.”
Proceeds of the event, in which runners paid $35 each, will go toward replacing the Ocracoke School gym floor, Todd, who is also chair of the Hyde County Schools Board of Education, said.
But at this rate, it will take decades to pay for a new floor, which will cost about $100,000, she said.
The current floor was installed after the Hurricane Dorian flood Sept. 6, 2019, and it suffices, but it has a lot of dead spaces, she said.
“Those affect how the basketball bounces,” she said. “Basketball is just a big part of the community. You want to have a good floor for the kids to play on.”
Anyone wishing to donate can send checks payable to Ocracoke Island Running Club, c/o Ocracoke School, P.O. Box 189, Ocracoke, NC 27960.
The old style of Ocracoke decoys will be featured at the Core Sound Decoy Festival & Waterfowl Weekend at Harkers Island Friday, Dec. 1, to Sunday, Dec. 3.
The festival, which celebrates the history, craftsmanship and cultural importance of vintage decoys from prominent collections locally and region wide, will be held in two places. The marketplace of vendors will be in the Harkers Island Elementary School and displays by members of the Carolina Decoy Collectors Association will be held in the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center, 1785 Island Road, Harkers Island.
Shuttles will run Saturday and Sunday from the elementary school to the Core Sound museum.
Jesse Sorrell, of Carolina Decoy Collectors, explained that said the club focuses on antique decoys. They tell members what the featured carver or style will be and ask members to bring samples that fit that style. This year, Ocracoke decoys and shorebirds are the feature.
The focus is on Ocracoke working decoys made in the late 1800s early 1900s used in hunting clubs during the heyday of duck hunting of duck hunting, Sorrell said.
“Decoys out of Ocracoke had a similar style and characteristic to them,” he said. “Decoys out of Ocracoke are totally different from those out of the Core Sound and are different from those from lower Virginia and Chesapeake.”
Decoy historians will be present throughout the weekend to help collectors learn more about their own collections.
The 9th annual Vintage Decoy Competition by the Carolina Decoy Collectors will center on the authenticity, historic and the cultural values of the old decoys and will be held Saturday, Dec. 2.
Collectors are invited to bring their own Ocracoke decoys for evaluation and identification as part of this tribute to Ocracoke’s water-fowling heritage.
Entries in the contest will be accepted at the museum at the CDCA Exhibit until noon, with judging to begin at 1 p.m.
Categories include the following: Core Sound Diver Decoys Knotts Island Decoy Ocracoke Duck Decoy Joe Hayman Decoy NC Beach Robin Decoy NC Canvas Decoy NC Ruddy Duck Decoy
Visitors to the CDCA’s display will be allowed one vote for the Peoples’ Choice Vintage Decoy which will be announced late Saturday afternoon.
Anyone is eligible to enter and there are no entry fees. For details on the competition rules, please contact Jesse Sorrell at 919-427 8918 or firstname.lastname@example.org. All winners will be featured in Decoy Magazine in the first edition of 2024.
MANTEO — The public is invited to attend a groundbreaking event at 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7, for the $3.6 million project to raise and make repairs to the Double Keepers’ Quarters and other structures at Cape Hatteras National Seashore’s Ocracoke Light Station.
The 15-minute event, which caps off the year-long celebration of the Ocracoke Light Station’s 200th anniversary, will occur in front of the Double Keepers’ Quarters.
“Double” refers to the fact that the house is like a duplex, or built for two families.
Hosted by the National Park Service, the special event will include brief remarks followed by the breaking of ground by representatives from the National Park Service, Hyde County, the N.C. State Historic Preservation Office and the contractor, Terra Site Constructors LLC.
Additionally, the Double Keepers’ Quarters will be open for public viewing immediately after the groundbreaking event for one hour and the base of the Ocracoke Lighthouse for will be open from 11:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
During the 12-month project, Terra Site Constructors will perform the following work:
Raise the Double Keepers’ Quarters more than 4-feet to protect against storm surge.
Raise the Store House, Carpenter’s Shop, Generator House and Privy by approximately 2-feet on concrete masonry piers with concrete footers.
Repair interior and exterior storm damage and repaint all structures.
Remediate all structures for mold, lead based paint and asbestos containing material.
Install a pathway from the existing boardwalk to a custom lift to the Double Keepers’ Quarters. The pathway and custom lift will meet Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) accessibility standards.
Groundbreaking event attendees are encouraged to park at the nearby Ocracoke Township Tourism Development Authority or the Lifesaving Church’s parking lots due to limited parking at the Ocracoke Light Station.
Wednesday, Nov. 29 NPS researchers report on the Ocracoke pony herd, 1 p.m. Community Center. See story here.
Storm water assessment meeting, 3 pm. Community Center. See notice below.
1718 Brewing Ocracoke: Island Trivia, 6 to 8 pm
Ocracoke Planning Advisory Board, 6:30 pm. Community Center
Friday, Dec. 1 Informational estate planning seminar with attorney James Wynn, 2 pm. Community Center
Ocracoke School JV & Varsity basketball at home vs. Albemarle Cougars, JVs tipoff 3:30pm, followed by Lady Dolphins, approx. 4:30 pm and Boys Varsity, approx. 5:30 pm Games will be broadcast on WOVV, 90.1 FM and wovv.org
Ocracoke Oyster Company: Ray Murray, 8 pm
Saturday, Dec. 2 Ocracoke School Varsity basketball at home vs. the Croatan Cougars, Lady Dolphins tipoff 11 am, followed by boys varsity, approx. 12:30 pm. Games will be broadcast on WOVV, 90.1 FM and wovv.org
Looking ahead: Thursday, Dec. 7: Santa arrives at the Variety Store, 4:30-6:30 pm
Saturday, Dec. 9: Community Cookie Exchange, Ocracoke Community Library, 1 pm
Sunday, Dec. 10: Community Christmas Concert, 7 pm. Community Center
Friday, Dec. 15: Island Celebration: judging of holiday lights on homes and businesses, 5:30 pm
The following is a list of the establishments on Ocracoke that are open or closed for the season. This list will be updated as the Observer gets information. Businesses: email us or post your seasonal hours/closing on the Observer Facebook page. Updated Dec. 4, 2023.
Food & Drink 1718 Brewing Ocracoke: Open Wed., Thurs., & Sun. 4 to 9 pm; Fri. & Saturday, noon to 9 pm The Back Porch: Closed, but the Back Porch Market is open Fridays from 2 to 5 pm offering pre-made dinners, sides and desserts. The Breeze: Closed. DAJIO: Closed. Deja Brew (at Stockroom Street Food): Open daily 7am -noon. Open through winter. Eduardo’s of Ocracoke: Closed. Flying Melon: Closed. The Fudge & Ice Cream Shop: Closed. Hang Ten Smoothies: Closed. Hart’s Hot Dog Hut: Closed. Reopening in Jan. 3 to 31 for the month. Closed Feb & March. Helios Hideaway: Open for lunch and dinner. Mon. to Fri. 11 am to7 pm; Saturday 11 am to 2 pm. Howard’s Pub: Open daily 11:30 am to 8:30 pm. Last day Nov 25. Jason’s Restaurant: Closed. Reopening Jan 4. The Back Porch Lunch Box: Closed. Mini Bar at Ocracoke Coffee: Closed. Native Seafood: Closed permanently. Ocracoke Coffee Company: Open daily7 am to noon. Closing the week of Thanksgiving. Last day TBD. Ocracoke Oyster Company: Open 11am-11pm Tues-Sat; 4 to 11pm Sun & Mon. Ocracoke Shave Shack: Closed. Ocracoke Seafood Company (the Fish House): Closed until spring of 2024. Old Salt Sandwiches & Such: Closed. Plum Pointe Kitchen: Open Wed., Thurs., & Sun. 4 to 9 pm; Fri. & Saturday, noon to 9 pm Pony Island Restaurant: Closed. SMacNally’s: Closed. Sorellas Pizza & Pasta: Closed. Stockroom Street Food: Open Tues-Sat for breakfast 8am-11am. Open through the winter. Slushy Stand: Open daily 7 am to 1 pm Sweet Tooth and Fig Tree Bakery & Deli: Closed. Taqueria 504Suazo’s: TBD Thai Moon: Closed. Variety Store: Open daily 7am-7pm. Zillie’s Island Pantry: Open daily 11 am to 8:30 pm. Fall hours TBD.
Lodging: Anchorage Inn: Open year-round Blackbeard’s Lodge: Open year-round. Blue Heron Realty: Open year-round. Partial stays available. Bluff Shoal Motel: Open year-round. Captain’s Landing: Open. Last day Dec. 3. The Castle B&B and Courtyard Villas: Open Crew’s Inn: Open year-round. Edwards of Ocracoke Cottages: Closed; reopens mid-March Harborside Motel: Open Jerniman’s Campground: Open year-round. McWilliams Landing I & II: Open. NPS Campground: Open all year. http://www.recreation.gov Ocracoke Harbor Inn: Open. Last day Nov. 26. Ocracoke Island Realty: Open all year. 9-5 daily. Oscar’s House B&B: Closed Pam’s Pelican B&B: Closed until March. Pony Island Inn: Open year-round. Sand Dollar Motel: Open year-round. Closed January. Silver Lake Motel: Open year-round. Online reservations: silverlakemotelandinn.com. The Rich Company of Ocracoke: Open Teeter’s Campground: Open Thurston House B&B: Open
Shops: Anabelle’s Antiques: Open. Bella Fiore: Closed. May open on weekends (TBD). Holiday open house in December (TBD) Books to Be Red: Open 10am-4:30pm Mon-Sat.; 10am-2pm Sun. Captain’s Cargo: Open. Limited hours Mon – Sat. Last day Dec. 3. Down Creek Gallery: Closed Island Artworks: Open 11am-5pm Mon-Sat. Shop number 928-3892 Island Ragpicker: Open daily 11 am to 4 pm through January 5. Kitty Hawk Kites: Open daily 9:30 am to 5:30 pm until Dec. 6 then open days will be Wednesday to Sunday. Locals with an ID get 40% off most items (some exclusions apply). Kitty Mitchell Studio: Open. 11am-5pm Tues- Sat. Little Rituals: Open. 10am-5pm Mon – Sat. Mermaid’s Folly: Open Moonraker Tea Shop: Starting in December, hours are Monday-Thursday 11-5; Friday 11-8 (we will be running a fundraiser every Friday, details to come); Saturday 8-6; Sunday 8-5 (Stop in before church) Ocracoke Cigars: Open; 1pm-5pm Tues-Sat. Ocracoke Garden Center: Closed for season Over the Moon: Open Mon- Sat. 10am- 5pm. Closed Sun. Pirates Chest: Open year-round Ride the Wind Surf Shop: Open Mon-Sat 10am-6pm. Sun 10am-5pm. The Sunglass Shop on Ocracoke: Closed. Sea Break: Open, Mon-Fri 10am-5pm. Sunflower Studio: Closed. Reopening in April. Village Thrift: Open, Tues-Sat, Noon to 4 pm Village Craftsmen: Open Mon- Sat 11am to 5pm. Last day Dec. 2. Facebook Live Shopping videos from Dec. 4 to 12 most days. Then closed till early March 2024.
Getting Around: Beach Ride Rentals: Open daily 7am-8pm Ocracoke Beach Outfitters: Closed until March Ocracoke Island Golf Carts: Closed until March Wheelie Fun: Closed for season.
Recreation: Anchorage Marina: Open 7am-6pm daily. Ocracoke Ghost and History walk: Closed. Portsmouth Island Adventures: Open weather permitting. To book a trip call: 252-928-4484 Schooner Windfall: Open 10am-sunset daily Tradewinds Tackle: Closed.
Spa and Wellness: Angie’s Gym: Open year round Ocracoke Island Yoga: Open. Check Facebook for weekly class schedules. Closed Jan. 1 to March 1.
Museum/Exhibits: Ocracoke Preservation Society: Open; Closing Dec. 5 to mid-March.
Services: ABC Store: Open 11am-6pm, Mon-Sat. First National Bank: Open Mon-Thurs., 9 am-5 pm; Fridays 9 am to 6 pm. Island Mobile Medical Care: Open. Gail Covington, FNP. 252-996-0511 Jimmy’s Garage: Open Ocracoke Island Discovery Center (NPS): Open Mon-Fri., 1:30pm-4:30pm. ORV permits are only available for purchase on recreation.gov now. They are no longer sold at the Visitor Center. recreation.gov 1-877-444-6777. Ocracoke Health Center: Open. 252-928-1511 Ocracoke Post Office: Open Mon-Fri 9am-1pm; 3pm-5pm, Sat. 10am-1pm. Ocracoke Mobile Veterinarian: Open. 252-923-3787 Ocracoke Library: Open to the public weekdays from 3 to 7 pm and 9 am to 1 pm Saturdays. StoryWalk (along Robbie’s Way off Silver Lake Drive).
List courtesy of Ocracoke Tourism Development Authority.
Candidate filing for the March 5 primary election will begin at noon on Monday, Dec. 4, and will run for two weeks ending at noon on Friday, Dec. 15.
The Hyde County elections office in Swan Quarter is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m.to 5 p.m.
Anyone interested in filing for a seat that will be on the ballot for the primary election will need to file their forms during this time.
The following local seats will be on the ballot:
County Commissioner – Fairfield District
County Commissioner – Ocracoke District
County Commissioner – Lake Landing District
Board of Education At-Large (two seats)
Elections staff will be in Ocracoke at the county office located in the Ocracoke Community Center from 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12 to assist any Ocracoke residents with filing candidate filing forms for seats in the primary election.
Staff members will also be available to issue voter IDs to any voter by request during this visit.
For information on the 2024 North Carolina elections, click Ballotpedia here.
Hyde County EMS is offering free Vial of Life packets to all Hyde County residents. program is a simple way for residents to ensure that vital medical information is readily available to EMS personnel when every second counts during emergencies.
Participants in this program will receive two stickers, a plastic bag, and a form to record their medical information on.
The form includes your medical history, daily medications, demographics, doctor and emergency contact.
One sticker goes on the door to the home. The other sticker goes on the Zip-loc bag where the form is stored. The bag is then attached to the resident’s refrigerator.
Having the first sticker on the door alerts the fire and EMS personnel to look for the bag and they will know exactly where to look.
“We encourage all Hyde County residents, especially those with chronic medical conditions, seniors, and families with young children, to participate in the Vial of Life Program,” said Christopher Pereira, EMS deputy chief of operations.
Key benefits of the Vial of Life program include the following:
Rapid access to critical information: When EMS responders arrive at your home, they can quickly retrieve your Vial of Life containing your medical information, allowing them to make informed decisions about your care.
Improved patient safety: By having access to your medical history, EMS can administer appropriate treatment, potentially reducing risks and complications during emergencies.
The Vial of Life packets are available from the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department, from EMS personnel, local churches and the health department.
For more information, contact Mike Caton at 252-945- 4364 or by email: email@example.com.