OCRACOKE – As Hurricane Florence approaches the North Carolina coast, the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division is assisting with the evacuation of all visitors and residents from Ocracoke Island. Hyde County issued a mandatory evacuation order for island visitors immediately and for residents beginning 5 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11.
Only residents, homeowners, or vendors with an Ocracoke re-entry sticker on their vehicles will be allowed on ferries inbound to Ocracoke. Priority boarding will be suspended for all vessels leaving Ocracoke, and tolls have been waived for ferries heading from Ocracoke to Cedar Island or Swan Quarter.
The Ocracoke-Hatteras and Ocracoke-Cedar Island routes will run their published schedules. The Ocracoke-Swan Quarter route will add a 6:30 p.m. departure from Swan Quarter and a 9:30 p.m. departure from Ocracoke to accommodate evacuees.
“This is the biggest storm to head for our coast in decades,” said Ferry Division Director Harold Thomas. “We hope everyone on Ocracoke Island will take heed and leave as soon as possible.”
Dare County has also issued a mandatory evacuation order for Hatteras Island beginning at Noon today, but Ocracoke residents will be allowed to transit through Hatteras while the evacuation is in underway.
Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency on Friday evening, urging the state’s families and businesses to prepare for heavy rains, possible flooding and storm-force winds as Florence is forecast to the approach the state later this week.
Evacuation procedures will remain in effect for all Ocracoke-bound ferries until Hyde County emergency officials lift the evacuation order.