HYDE COUNTY: Mandatory Evacuation Of Ocracoke Tourists & Residents

Tourists are being asked to evacuate the four-wheel drive area of Carova Beach in Currituck County. The evacuation order is not mandatory, and it was issued early Wednesday. High surf and storm surge could make the beach road impassable.

North Carolina officials are ordering tourists and residents to leave a barrier island accessible only by ferries as powerful Hurricane Earl heads toward the U.S. coast.

Hyde County emergency management officials plan a Wednesday morning evacuation of Ocracoke Island. The decision came late Tuesday, as the hurricane whipped across the Caribbean with winds of up to 135 mph.

Lindsey Mooney said earlier Tuesday that the evacuation order would affect about 5,000 visitors to the island and fewer than 800 year-round residents.

Earl is expected to bring high winds and heavy rain to North Carolina's Outer Banks by late Thursday or early Friday.

The NC Ferry system will be on a first-come, first –serve basis for all vehicles open to Hatteras, Swan Quarter, and Cedar Island pending road conditions in those receiving counties beginning at 5:00 am Wednesday. Schedules and toll collections are suspended during the evacuation order.

Emergency services, government agencies, commercial vendors delivering essential groceries and supplies, and permanent residential traffic as indicated by purple and green stickers will be allowed on the island via air and marine traffic. The State Highway Patrol may restrict access without appropriate credentials.

Those seeking shelter may travel to North Pitt High School, 5659 N. Highway 11, Bethel, NC. This shelter will be open at 9 am on Wednesday, September 1.


Hyde County officials say the forecast track of Earl could cause significant wind, rain and storm surges that may flood low-lying areas of their county, both on the mainland and Ocracoke.

Hyde County officials are meeting tonight to discuss the latest forecast.

A news release states they presently "anticipate a mandatory evacuation for Ocracoke Island on Wednesday, September 1 beginning at 5 a.m. for all residents and visitors."

Seas from Earl could be up to 20 feet in the coastal waters. Overwash issues are likely.

More information for Ocracoke residents from Hyde County officials is below:

"Before leaving, residents and guests in this area should take precautions such as moving cars and equipment to higher ground.

Please pick up potential debris that could become unsecure during the storm.

People with medical needs and unique situations are urged to consider their options. Hyde County public safety services will cease after winds reach 50 mph sustained.

Again, there is not an evacuation in place at this time, but all are encouraged to make plans for their safety and security.

As seen in the past, hurricanes are unpredictable and can change with little notice. Residents and visitors need to remain vigilant and not let your guard down.

Hyde County Emergency Services continues to review the latest weather forecasts, is coordinating with the State and nearby counties, and advising citizens on possible actions to protect themselves and their property. Further updates will be issued after the 6 pm meeting.

Please make yourselves aware of the state ferry system’s schedule and road conditions before making travel plans during this time and after the storm has passed."

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by MindyLeigh Location: Pitt on Sep 1, 2010 at 08:19 AM
    (Those seeking shelter may travel to North Pitt High School, 5659 N. Highway 11, Bethel, NC. This shelter will be open at 9 am on Wednesday, September 1).... "Come on to Bethel we will take care you". Just be safe whatever you chose to do Stay or Go!
  • by Sam Location: Kitty Hawk on Sep 1, 2010 at 07:07 AM
    We have a couple thats friends with us who live in Ocracoke and they came to stay with us. I'm so glad my wife was able to get off of work as I am as well. Stephen pa, be glad you guys are not getting this. We are getting it handed to us right now. I'm glad we are on high ground where we are at. We are going nowhere except to maybe one of our neighbors houses, but that's it. Anonymous, I'm wondering the same thing. My parents, back in Martin County told me that Jamesville and Robersonville schools had shelters, and you have to go by there before you can get to North Pitt/Bethel. Oh well, hope everyone else stays safe. Gerry, you have a good point. I have a close cousin who drowned during Floyd trying to cross over an overflown creek in Bertie County. He never made it. It hit me hard.
  • by huh? on Sep 1, 2010 at 06:15 AM
    Covering their butts? How about you use your head. It is usually the folks that decide to tough it out that are the first to call 911 for help. Sorry, you were told. We will get to you when the storm passes. It is about safety, everyone's. Emergency personnel included.
  • by lawyers on Sep 1, 2010 at 03:32 AM
    If they don't tell the people to leave when the hurricane is coming, and somebody gets hit by debris, they will turn around and sue the local government for negligence because they didn't tell the people to leave. Use your heads, people. This isn't about safety. It's about covering their butts.
  • by Gerry Location: Greenville on Sep 1, 2010 at 03:00 AM
    Review history, and learn how many people have died during hurricanes in the last 300 years on Ocracoke Island. I recall that the number is zero, zip, nada, none. Now, review the history of Hurricane Floyd and how many people died, just in Pitt County.
  • by Anonymous on Aug 31, 2010 at 06:32 PM
    Thoughts and prayers to all my friends on Ocracoke and Hatteras Island. Just one question though - why North Pitt? Seems like there would be some closer schools that could safely be used as shelters.
  • by pray for safe haven on Aug 31, 2010 at 05:50 PM
    Blessings to all leaving their homes and businesses on the obx...
  • by stephen pa on Aug 31, 2010 at 05:37 PM
    oh how exciting.... i only hope it comes inland more to kinston.
  • by Fran on Aug 31, 2010 at 04:28 PM
    Good luck to everyone on Ocracoke and in any low lying area that might be affected. You all are in my thoughts and prayers.
  • by obxemt Location: OBX on Aug 31, 2010 at 04:15 PM
    If they issue a mandatory evacuation all the tourist and visitors will have to leave. The motels and rental cottages will be closed and the real estate offices will ask them to leave. Residents do not have to leave even though it will be encouraged for them to do so. And to Mimi Hyde County has an Emergency Manager, he was re-hired.
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