UPDATE: Ocracoke Property Damage "Minimal"

By: April Davis
By: April Davis

Parts of Ocracoke in Hyde County were submerged after the storm brushed by our coast, but officials there say, property damage was minimal.

Six homes and three businesses on Ocracoke had water come inside. Highway 12, however, on the north side of the island, is washed out. The DOT is working to fix the problem.

Officials say there is still some standing water in the low-lying areas of Ocracoke, as well as Engelhard, on the mainland of Hyde County.

A press release says early voting was rescheduled to Thursday at the Ocracoke Community Center.

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Ocracoke Island is currently experiencing extreme sound side flooding, with some areas presently inundated with more than 18 inches of water. Several homes and businesses are threatened at this point. With an anticipated 45 hours left in the weather event, Hyde County Deputy Emergency Operation Center is active and resources are staged to respond to hazardous conditions and emergencies related to Hurricane Sandy.

The National Weather Service has upped the storm surge forecast to 4-7 feet above ground on the sound side of Ocracoke Island, with peak surge times to take place at the next high tide cycle on Monday morning. Ocean storm surge is predicted to be 2-4 feet above ground. Minor storm surges are projected for mainland Hyde County.

High tides for today are 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. tomorrow.

Winds are not forecasted to let up over the next 24 hours, but they will slowly change to a northwesterly and westerly direction. Currently, sustained winds are projected at 40-55 mph for Ocracoke and Engelhard, with gusts up to 50-70 mph. Other areas of the mainland are seeing winds of 25-35 mph, gusting 40-55 mph. Rainfall accumulations are expected to be 1.25 to 4 inches on Ocracoke and .75 to 3 inches on the Mainland over the next five days.

Impacts are expected to decrease tomorrow afternoon into tomorrow night as the system pulls out of the area on Tuesday morning.

Ground service for Emergency Medical Service remains suspended, however resources are in place should citizens have acute medical needs. On Ocracoke, persons needing medical attention are directed to call 911 and will be asked to provide their own transportation to the EMS Station for on site treatment.

Transportation is extremely limited on the island. NC 12 / Irvin Garrish Highway is flooded with 18-24 inches of water in the village and at least 2 inches of moving water on the highway north of the village.

All ferry routes have been suspended, as of 2 p.m. Saturday.

Parts of Ocracoke village lost power this morning from 7 to 8:30 a.m. Tideland EMC has an unconfirmed report of a power pole down in the water. As a result, service may be suspended for repairs. Tideland has assured they will activate the generator on the island should service be interrupted.

Hot meals are available for purchase at Ocracoke Station and Topless Oyster.

Reports from mainland Hyde indicate little or no damage.

Things to remember:

- Do not drive through moving water.

- Due to dangerous rip currents, swimmers are advised to stay out of water.

- The Hyde County Sheriff's office cautions drivers to be alert to changing road conditions.

- Persons with an acute medical emergency should call 911, where they will be advised to provide their own transportation to the EMS station (behind the medical center).

- Check generators to ensure they are working properly.

- Secure all outdoor furnishings, trash cans, and any loose items in preparation for a long period of winds and rain.

- Residents and guests in the area should move cars and equipment to higher ground without blocking roads, driveways or bridges. The National Park Service parking lot is available to Ocracoke visitors for this purpose. Boats, boat trailers, golf carts and propane tanks should be secured.

- If vehicles become inundated with water, disconnect the battery cables to prevent fire. Do not attempt to start the vehicle.

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

- Hyde County EMS will provide portable generators for people with special medical needs in the event of a power outage.

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In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Hyde County Emergency Services has suspended ground transport of Emergency Medical Services on Ocracoke. Service on the mainland has not been suspended.

Unsafe travel conditions and ocean over wash on NC Highway 12 -Irvin Garrish Highway on the northern end of Ocracoke Island warranted staffers at the Emergency Operations Center to make the decision, as well as ferry routes being suspended. The Ocracoke Deputy EOC was activated at 8 a.m. this morning.

A State of Emergency has been declared for the Hyde County mainland and Ocracoke Island effective at 2:00 p.m. Friday . This declaration places all county staff in a state of readiness and enables Hyde County to receive assistance from the State Office of Emergency Management should it be required.

No evacuation orders have been issued at this time for residents or visitors to Ocracoke or Hyde County.

The storm is expected to pass close enough to the Outer Banks to produce strong winds of more than 50 mph. Strong winds will lead to very rough surf, dangerous rip currents, ocean overwash and moderate coastal flooding both on the ocean and sound. Periods of heavy rain will also occur with as much as 5 inches possible along the coast.

The National Park Service will patrol Ocracoke beaches to ensure public safety. Due to dangerous rip currents, swimmers are advised to stay out of water. The beaches closed at 5 p.m. Saturday as will the Visitor's Center and permit offices. The National Park Service Campground on Ocracoke closed at noon Saturday.

The Hyde County Sheriff's office cautions drivers to be alert to changing road conditions. On Ocracoke Island, ocean overwash could make roads impassable, especially along NC 12.

Early voting scheduled to take place on Ocracoke Island has been cancelled. Voters can request absentee ballots until 5 P.M. Monday, October 29th. Elderly, disabled ,or medically indisposed voters have one additional week to request a ballot, and can do so by calling the Elections Office in Swan Quarter at 926-5280.

The Ocracoke Pirate Festival, scheduled to take place this weekend, was cancelled and will be rescheduled as soon as possible.

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