OCRACOKE ISLAND, N.C. (WAVY) — A mandatory evacuation was issued for Ocracoke Island and a State of Emergency declared in Hyde County Thursday.
The mandatory evacuation was effective starting 3 p.m. Thursday and will be lifted Saturday at 5 a.m.
Due to the evacuation visitors will no longer be able to travel to Ocracoke. However, after the evacuation is lifted Ocracoke will continue to be restricted to emergency personnel, utilities, vendors, residents, and non-resident property owners. Access to Ocracoke Island for visitors is prohibited until further notice.
Law enforcement will be stationed at each ferry terminal to allow only residents, property-owners, and vendors access to Ocracoke on Thursday and Friday.
After the evacuation, NCDOT’s Ferry Division will be resuming its regular schedules on the Hatteras-Ocracoke, Cedar Island-Ocracoke, and Swan Quarter-Ocracoke routes at 5 a.m. Saturday.
However, reentry to Ocracoke will be limited to residents, property owners, emergency personnel, utility crews, and vendors only. Law enforcement personnel will be on hand at ferry terminals to enforce those restrictions.
Tolls remain waived and reservations cancelled on the Pamlico Sound routes, and all ferry runs to and from Ocracoke will be loaded on a first-come, first-served basis until full access to Ocracoke is restored.
A shelter will be ready to receive residents starting at 6 p.m. Thursday. The shelter is located at the Englewood Baptist Church, 1350 South Winstead Avenue, Rocky Mount, NC 27803. The shelter will have showers and food available. Space for pets will be provided. Please be prepared with clothes, medication, and other necessities for several days.
Anyone who chooses to stay on Ocracoke for Hurricane Joaquin, does so at their own risk and should be prepared to sustain themselves for several days in the event of flooding, downed trees, and/or loss of power, officials said.
Any patients with advanced medical needs requiring special assistance should contact the Hyde County Health Department at (252) 926-4200.