Mandatory evacuation ordered for Ocracoke Island visitors

(Courtesy: WAVY) Cars line up to depart from the Ocracoke Ferry Terminal on Sept. 1, 2016. (Photo: NCDOT)
(Courtesy: WAVY) Cars line up to depart from the Ocracoke Ferry Terminal on Sept. 1, 2016. (Photo: NCDOT) (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

By Emily Satchell – OCRACOKE, N.C. (WAVY) — The Hyde County Board of Commissioners has ordered a mandatory evacuation for people visiting Ocracoke Island ahead of Hurricane Hermine.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for the east coast from Surf City to Duck, North Carolina. The warning includes the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds.

WAVY Hurricane Center

Visitor access to the island will be temporarily restricted until further notice. Law enforcement will be stationed at ferry terminals to enforce the entry and re-entry priority.

Under the mandatory evacuation, all ferry routes will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Reservations and priority status will not be honored and tolls on the sound class ferries will be temporarily removed.

WAVY Hurricane Center

The North Carolina Ferry Division is seriously concerned about rising water levels in the Pamlico Sound. If the water level continues to rise, the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferries may not be able to use the loading docks. That's why visitors must leave as soon as possible.

"We encourage all visitors on the island to calmly evacuate Ocracoke as soon as possible," said Ferry Division Directory Ed Goodwin. "We will be running as many boats as we can on the Hatteras route tonight and tomorrow until conditions are no longer safe for our passengers and crews."

Property owners and vendors entering Ocracoke Thursday or Friday must acknowledge that may not be able to get off the island via Hatteras.

Weather Blogs

"Anyone who chooses to stay on Ocracoke for Tropical System named Hermine, does so at their own risk and should be prepared to sustain themselves for several days in the event of flooding, downed trees, and/or loss of power," officials said in a news released Thursday.

If you have advanced medical needs that require special assistance, reach out to the Hyde County Health Department at 252-926-4200.

Evacuation procedures will remain in effect for all Ocracoke-bound ferries until emergency officials lift the evacuation order.

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Stay with WAVY's team of Super Doppler 10 meteorologists as they continue to track the latest on these systems. Look on WAVY.com and on WAVY-TV 10 for updates.