July 2, 2014 10:00 p.m.
Arthur Approaches Hurricane Strength - Ocracoke Residents And Visitors Need To Prepare
Hyde County officials have declared a countywide state of emergency and a voluntary evacuation for Ocracoke Island that went into place today at 2:00 p.m. The National Weather Service has issued a hurricane warning for all of Hyde County and much of the Outer Banks in anticipation of Tropical Storm Arthur strengthening into a hurricane Thursday, July 3, 2014.
Recent data from the National Hurricane Center shows little change in the storm's track. Sustained tropical storm force winds around 45 MPH are expected to affect Ocracoke between 10:00 p.m. Thursday and 8:00 a.m. Friday. Peak sustained winds of 65 MPH are expected to occur around 2:00 a.m. Friday. 15-20 foot seas are expected with storm surge projections of 0-3 feet above ground.
Those that choose to stay on Ocracoke do so at their own risk and need to be well prepared for potential serious impacts of the storm. County Manager Bill Rich sternly warns everyone on Ocracoke, "There could be loss of electricity, there could be restaurants closing, there could be cars flooding, and roads could be compromised; if you do not want to experience what could be, you should leave the Island."
There is no pre-equipped storm shelter on Ocracoke and people who choose to stay should be prepared to be self-supporting. Hyde County officials ask all lodging establishments on Ocracoke take every effort to keep their clients out of harms way from 9:00 p.m. Thursday to 10:00 a.m. Friday morning. Go to ReadyNC.org for ideas on emergency supply kits and more information about hurricane preparedness. Please be alert, be prepared, and be smart!
For those leaving, the NC Ferry Division has amended their schedule to increase operations for Ocracoke. 24-hour service to Hatteras is available. Dare County Emergency Management has announced a mandatory evacuation of Hatteras Island. All access south-bound on to Hatteras Island will be restricted to vendors as of 5:00 a.m. Thursday morning. Regardless, if you leave Ocracoke on the Hatteras ferry you will be allowed to get off Hatteras Island. Priority loading for the Hatteras ferry has been suspended for all departures from Ocracoke; priority loading for departures from Hatteras to Ocracoke is still in place. Go to NCDOT.gov/ferry for the most recent information.
Preparation Measures by Tideland EMC: Tideland is preparing for the storm by sending additional resources to Ocracoke. Tideland has no plans to shut power off in advance of the storm and is prepared to run the Ocracoke generator in the event of a prolonged outage. However, the ability of the generator to power the island in an emergency situation will largely depend on electric load. Therefore, island residents will be asked to practice extreme conservation efforts if the generator is called into service. Power restoration activities do not begin until storm conditions have sufficiently subsided to ensure safe working conditions for utility crews. More information available here.
Preparation Measures by NCDOT: Along the Outer Banks, crews are staging motor graders, excavators, bulldozers and front-end loaders in Buxton, Kitty Hawk, Ocracoke and Pea Island. NCDOT has more equipment ready to mobilize, if needed, as well as employees prepared to patrol N.C. 12 during and after the storm. More information available here.
NPS Park Closures: The Outer Banks Group of the National Park Service has announced the following park closures that will affect Ocracoke starting at 12:00 p.m. Noon today: the NPS campground, NPS docks in Silver Lake, NPS visitors center and ORV office, as well as NPS lifeguard operations will close until further notice. All NPS beaches will be closed to off-road vehicles by 9:00 p.m. today until further notice. More information available here.
Ocracoke Independence Day Celebration: The Ocracoke Independence Day celebration has been reschedule to Saturday, July 5th when the weather is expected to clear up. More information: http://www.ocracokecurrent.com/
Next update from Hyde County Emergency Services is expected late Thursday morning July 3, 2014.