(MANNS HARBOR) - In order to ease backups at Ocracoke as residents and visitors evacuate the island in preparation for Tropical Storm Arthur, the North Carolina Department of Transportation's Ferry Division has adjusted its Hatteras Inlet schedule for Thursday, July 3 to accommodate more departures in the morning and early afternoon. It is likely that weather will force a closure of the route at some point in the mid-afternoon Thursday.
The schedule for Thursday, July 3 is as follows:
Departing Ocracoke: 5 a.m., 6:25, 7:25, 8:45, 9:45, 11:05, 12:05 p.m., 1:25, 2:25, 3:45, and 4:45.
Departing Hatteras: 5:15 a.m., 6:15, 7:35, 8:35, 9:55, 10:55, 12:15 p.m., 1:15, 2:35, 3:35.
In addition, four boats will be put into service as "shuttles", making unscheduled runs between Ocracoke and Hatteras to alleviate backups.
"According to the current forecast, conditions will begin to deteriorate rapidly by mid-afternoon," said Ferry Division Director Ed Goodwin. "We strongly encourage Ocracoke residents and visitors to take advantage of these morning departures and evacuate the island as early as possible."
Priority loading status will be waived on departures from Ocracoke until the evacuation order has lifted. Ocracoke residents and visitors may also choose to evacuate via ferry to either Cedar Island or Swan Quarter. Tolls have been waived for motorists departing Ocracoke on those routes.
[Motorists Line Up At Ocracoke Ferry Terminal During Tropical Storm Arthur Evacuation]