North Carolina's ferries are now tied up at their docks until Hurricane Irene passes.
The North Carolina Transportation Department said the ferry system was locked down after the last boat off Ocracoke Island left Friday afternoon for Hatteras Island. The only way on and off Ocracoke is by boat, and officials estimate half the island's 1,000 residents may have stayed.
Officials say the ferries will resume when tropical storm force winds die down and the Coast Guard says it is safe.
The Bonner Bridge between Hatteras and Bodie islands will close after the storm passes for inspectors to check its safety. Dare County Manager Bobby Outten says when the bridge is too dangerous to cross it also is too dangerous to have a law officer there to keep people off.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)