Air evacuations planned for Ocracoke after catastrophic flooding

OCRACOKE, NC (WITN) - Residents of Ocracoke Island will be evacuated by air after catastrophic flooding on the Island from Hurricane Dorian.

Hyde County says people that need to leave will be airlifted to Dare County and then taken the shelter in Washington County. There they will have food, power, and medical needs.

Those wishing to evacuate need to start preparing now, according to the county, and they'll release times when people need to go to the airport.

The county is asking those planning to evacuate to call the Emergency Operations Center at 252-926-3715 so they can try to get a headcount.

Hyde County is hoping to have ferry route evaluated tomorrow, and as soon as possible they will continue the evacuation via ferries.

One resident whose husband was born on the island says this is the worst flooding ever for Ocracoke.

Sheriff Guire Cahoon says they are sending three mainland deputies, two medics, along with North Carolina Wildlife and Marine Patrol officers to the island.

The Department of Transportation says the entire island is experiencing severe sound side flooding and that all of Highway 12 is now closed on Ocracoke.

Gov. Roy Cooper said 800 people remained on the island during the storm. He said already the U.S. Coast Guard has medevaced a 79-year-old man who needed immediate medical attention.

The governor said they will be deploying other helicopters which will bring in food and water and take others to safety.

"We have heard unofficially that there could be hundreds of people trapped out there," said state emergency management director Mike Sprayberry. "We don't really have a good number on it. We're in contact with the folks out on Dare, Hyde, Currituck, and those counties, but they're mainland, so it's tough to really get a good read on what's actually happening out there."

Ocracoke resident Leslie Lanier says the island is "flooding like crazy" from Dorian.

Lanier said by text message Friday morning that the water is in homes on the island and she expects the water to keep rising.

She said she's safe for the time being, but added that she has been on Ocracoke for 32 years and not seen anything like this.

Lanier owns a bookshop on the island at the southern end of the Outer Banks. She moved books and gifts off the ground in anticipation of the storm, which made landfall Friday morning at Cape Hatteras.

Gov. Cooper said as of late Friday there have been no reports of serious injuries or deaths as a direct result of the storm.