Update from Hyde County officials is below.
A mandatory evacuation has been issued for all visitors and residents of Ocracoke as of 5 AM on Wednesday, September 1. The hurricane watch for this area has been upgraded to a hurricane warning for mainland Hyde and Outer Banks Hyde. Hurricane Earl is expected to impact the Outer Banks coast, including Ocracoke Island. It is a current Category 4 Hurricane with intensity of 145 mph winds. Seas may peak at 30 feet Thursday night and into Friday morning. We are expecting hurricane force (74 mph) sustained winds with gusts up to 90 mph in the Ocracoke area after midnight and possibly extending until dawn and tropical storm force wind gusts on the mainland. Overnight mainland Hyde county winds are expected to reach tropical storm force overnight with gusts up to 60 mph.
Winds will begin to be a serious threat to Ocracoke by 4 PM today.
There is a potential 1-3 foot storm surge for Swan Quarter and Engelhard and a 3-5 foot storm surge for Ocracoke. Rainfall amounts for Ocracoke Island are projected at 3-5”.
The NC Ferry system is operating on a first-come, first-serve basis for all vehicles open to Hatteras and Swan Quarter pending road conditions in those receiving counties. The Cedar Island ferry will not run again until the storm has passed. The Swan Quarter ferry will resumed service at 6 AM today and will likely cease operation at 9AM. The Hatteras ferry will run as long as weather allows. Schedules and toll collections are suspended during the evacuation order. All island residents and tourists must leave immediately. Evacuation routes may not be available after mid-morning on Thursday. Residents on Ocracoke and the mainland in mobile homes or substandard housing are
encouraged to seek proper shelter.
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 shall restrict access without appropriate credentials. 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. All Hyde County public safety services will cease after winds reach 50 mph sustained. Pay attention to Highway 12 on Ocracoke and Hatteras islands as overwash may make the route impassable.