Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Message from Hyde County Officials

OCRACOKE: Hurricane Alex brushed the shores of Ocracoke on August 3 and while it did not make direct landfall on the island, it has left behind a wake of damage and misery. With wind gusts recorded at 120 mph and sustained wind of 80 mph, an excess of 4 feet of water swept over the island, leaving residents and visitors vehicles flooded along with some homes and businesses.

No loss of life or serious injury has been reported. Tideland Electric Membership Cooperative reports over 20 utility poles down, but help is already on the way with equipment and manpower leaving Mainland Hyde County by ferry early on the morning of August 4. Meanwhile, the island is getting its temporary power from a generator on a rotating basis. Due to the electrical demand, the generator is not sufficient to power the entire island at one time, or continuously, but Tideland officials report that they hope to have repairs made quickly.

Ferry service, which was discontinued as the storm approached, will resume on August 3, after the U. S. Coast Guard has determined that the channels are free of debris and safe for passage. A state of emergency has been declared on the island which means that only emergency vehicles and personnel will be allowed to travel to the island until further notice. Residents who can produce a valid NC driver’s license will be allowed to re-enter on a space available basis.

The Salvation Army from Washington, NC will also be arriving on the island on August 3 with hot meals from their canteens. Late Tuesday evening Maj. Kenneth Clewis of the Salvation Army was scrabbling to get supplies and ready the equipment for the trip. The organization played an essential role on Mainland Hyde County following Hurricane Isabel, less than eleven months ago.

County officials have released the following information regarding persons desiring to evacuate the island via the Swan Quarter ferry: “Parties wishing to evacuate Ocracoke Island via the Swan Quarter ferry must walk on the ferry with their luggage and possessions.”

“Transportation for all parties and their possessions will be provided from the Swan Quarter ferry site on the Mainland to the Mattamuskeet School Gymnasium, located at 20370 US Highway 264, {east of Swan Quarter} which will serve as a temporary staging area and shelter for all persons evacuating to Hyde County Mainland.”

“Enterprise Rental Car will arrange for vans to pick up persons needing services of a rental vehicle. The party will be taken to the nearest Enterprise Rental Car Franchise.”

“For those arranging their own transportation from Hyde County Mainland, the designated pickup point is Mattamuskeet School Gymnasium, 20370 US Highway 264, Swan Quarter, NC.”

Jeffrey Stotesberry, Swan Quarter Volunteer Fire Chief, will be setting up the county’s American Red Cross shelter, which consists of cots and blankets for the evacuees at the school gymnasium. The Salvation Army will provide hot meals at the site beginning mid-afternoon on August 3.

Travelers who were planning to visit the island in the upcoming days should check with officials before beginning their trip. The NC Ferry Division can be reached at 800-BY-FERRY. The Hyde County Chamber of Commerce can be reached at 888-493-3826. Dean Burbage, Emergency Manager can be reached at the county offices at 252-926-4372.

Persons wishing to help island residents may make donations to the Hyde County Disaster Relief Fund at any branch of the East Carolina Bank, or by mail: c/o Hyde County CDC, PO Box 295, Swan Quarter, NC 27885.


  1. Anonymous10:59 AM

    A note from Michigan...we're just glad that everyone is OK. Our prayers are with you. My parents are some of the visitors that were caught with you.

    Happy Belated Birthday and congrats on Lochlan Wesley...he's a cutie!

  2. Anonymous7:21 PM

    Thank you so much for the updates. We are (or were) planning to be there starting this weekend, so we'll keep checking in to see if that's possible. Best of luck to all there!!

  3. Anonymous7:56 PM

    we were hoping to be on island this saturday too, but for us if we can't get there it's only an inconvenience. we know it's your life and your home. glad you are well and hope that the island clean up is swift and the evacuation is brief.