Ocracoke residents allowed back on island, emergency ferry routes begin

HATTERAS, NC (WITN) For the first time since Hurricane Dorian, residents are allowed to return home to Ocracoke Island Monday

Ferry service resumed on an emergency schedule with hurricane relief supplies and help to pour in.

Some residents on Ocracoke Island were stuck due to ferry services being shut down because of the threat of Hurricane Dorian. To deliver hurricane relief supplies more efficiently, the NCDOT opened ferry routes to the Pamlico Sound starting around 7 a.m. on September 9. Several hurricane relief vehicles, packed with supplies, were lined up to take the ferry to assist the island.

David Allewalt has lived on the island for 12 years and says this is his first hurricane. He was preparing to see the condition of his home.

"First and foremost, you know, get back and check on your own personal belongings and your home, and see what you can salvage and what has to be trashed. And then, try to pitch in as much as you can with the rest of the community and try to restore things," Allewalt said.

Caroline Chiles got married on Ocracoke Island and has lived there for 27 years. She anticipates a lot of flood damage.

Chiles said, "We know that our ground level completely flooded—that's a storage area for us. So, we know that we've lost appliances; washer, dryer, air conditioning, our water heaters—all that. We know that we have a big mess to clean up in the ground floor of the house, but we're lucky in that our living area was raised."

Chiles says she's confident because the whole community is working together to rebuild.

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In order to speed the delivery of hurricane relief supplies and personnel to Ocracoke Island, the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division will begin emergency ferry service between Hatteras and Ocracoke’s Silver Lake Harbor on Monday, Sept. 9.

The route bypasses the closed section of N.C. Highway 12 on Ocracoke Island and takes two hours and 30 minutes for a one-way trip.

Hyde County has now lifted re-entry restrictions for permanent Ocracoke residents as of Sept. 9. Re-entry restrictions for visitors remain in effect.

The schedule for Monday, Sept. 9 will be as follows:
Hatteras to Ocracoke-Silver Lake: 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m.
Ocracoke-Silver Lake to Hatteras: 10:30 a.m., 12:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m., and 6:30 p.m.
Only high-clearance vehicles will be allowed on the Hatteras-Silver Lake route.

In addition, the Ferry Division’s Pamlico Sound routes will be on the following schedule:
Swan Quarter to Ocracoke: 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., and 5 p.m.
Ocracoke to Swan Quarter: 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m., and 8 p.m.
Cedar Island to Ocracoke: 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Ocracoke to Cedar Island: 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.

All fuel deliveries to Ocracoke should use the 9 a.m. Swan Quarter to Ocracoke departure.