Mandatory evacuation declared for Ocracoke Island

SWAN QUARTER, N.C. (WNCT) – A mandatory evacuation order has been issued for Ocracoke Island.

That’s effective as of 3 p.m. Thursday.

The Hyde County Board of Commissioners also declared a State of Emergency.

That mandatory evacuation means visitors can no longer travel to Ocracoke. Law enforcement will be stationed at each ferry terminal to allow only residents, property-owners, and vendors access to Ocracoke Thursday and Friday. There’ll be no inbound traffic allowed beginning Saturday, October 3.

It also means that ferry routes servicing Ocracoke Island will be on a first-come-first-serve basis. Reservations and priority status will not be honored. Tolls on the sound class ferries will also be temporarily removed.

A release from the county says that the NC Ferry Division has expressed serious concern for rising water levels in the Pamlico Sound. If the water level continues to rise, the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferries may not be able to utilize the loading docks. It’s imperative that people who choose to leave Ocracoke do so as soon as possible. Property owners and vendors entering Ocracoke on Thursday and Friday should realize there is a possibility they may not be able to get off the island via Hatteras.

Anyone who chooses to stay on Ocracoke for Hurricane Joaquin, does so at their own risk. Those individuals should be prepared to sustain themselves for several days in the event of flooding, downed trees, and/or loss of power.

An emergency general population shelter will be ready to receive residents starting at 6:00 p.m.Thursday. That shelter is located at the Englewood Baptist Church, 1350 South Winstead Avenue, Rocky Mount, NC 27803. The shelter will have showers and food available. Space for pets is also provided. Please be prepared with clothes, medication, and other necessities for several days.

Any patients with advanced medical needs requiring special assistance should contact the Hyde County Health Department at (252) 926-4200.

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