NC governor: 4,300 evacuated from Ocracoke, Hatteras

NORTH CAROLINA (WAVY) — Governor Pat McCrory held a press conference Thursday evening about the state’s preparations for the quickly approaching Hurricane Arthur.

The press conference was held at Joint Force Headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina around 9 p.m. The governor spoke about the latest storm response across the state, but paid specific attention to the Outer Banks, encouraging residents and tourists to stay inside and wait out the storm.

“Please be safe inside your home, and stay inside your home,” he said.

McCrory noted that with Arthur’s track slightly shifted west, previous concerns limited to the coast had come to include communities further inland.

Officials are now expecting inland flooding and storm surges in sounds and rivers. On the Outer Banks, expected problems are with coastal flooding, storm surges, dangerous rip currents, heavy surf, moderate beach erosion and high winds.

The goal right now is life, health, and safety of all North Carolina citizens and tourists, McCrory said. The main focus, he said, is on recovery, once the storm passes through the state. How extensive the damage will be, may not be known until mid-morning Friday, he said.

As of 9 p.m., he said 11 counties in North Carolina had declared a state of emergency and 14 shelters had been made operational. As of 7 p.m., only 6,500 customers were reported without power across the state, which was “fairly good news,” according to the Governor. He said he expected that number to increase as the storm moves up the coast.

Using six boats around the clock, NCDOT’s Ferry Division had, as of Thursday evening, moved more than 4,300 residents and visitors during the evacuation of Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. The ferry service is shut down for the night and will resume when conditions improve and evacuation orders are lifted, McCrory said.

For ferries to operate safely, winds need to be below 35-45 mph.

McCrory said NCDOT is already on the ground in Buxton and Ocracoke, as the storm is expected to impact NC 12 from south of the Bonner Bridge down to Ocracoke Island. Crews are optimistic they can reopen NC 12 sometime Friday.

NCDOT is also paying close attention to the Bonner Bridge, the only highway connection to Hatteras Island. After the storm passes, NCDOT will have to conduct an underwater sonar scan to make sure it is safe before they can open it to drivers.

Transportation crews have also tested the emergency ferry route from stumpy point, and the Governor said it is ready to be used, if needed.

The National Guard has 100 soldiers on standby to help the NC State Highway Patrol, if needed. The Governor has also been in talks with FEMA out of D.C., the American Red Cross, power companies, and emergency management for each county. He said neighboring states have also called, offering assistance.

Stay with WAVY.com as we update this story.

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