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Hyde County declares state of emergency, Ocracoke evacuated ahead of Hurricane Isaias

There is a mandatory visitor evacuation order in Ocracoke, but on Saturday at 6 a.m., residential and non-residential property owners will be asked to leave too.
Credit: WVEC
Ocracoke, NC

HYDE COUNTY, N.C. — Hyde County declared a state of emergency on Friday morning as Hurricane Isaias is anticipated to impact the area early next week.

The Hyde County Board of Commissioners initially issued entry restrictions into Ocracoke Island, and then enacted a mandatory evacuation for both visitors and residents.

By noon, the Ocracoke visitor evacuation will be in effect. The evacuation for resident and non-resident property owners goes into effect at 6 a.m. on Saturday.

Officials said re-entry passes on vehicles or documentation will be needed to be allowed on inbound ferries to Ocracoke starting Friday.

Once the evacuation orders are in full effect, regardless of documentation, only emergency personnel can come to Ocracoke.

The board’s Vice Chairman, Tom Pahl, said they had to make their decision on Friday, because by Saturday they’ll only have only one ferry boat going out of Ocracoke.

“Because of that, we are particularly concerned about getting this evacuation order in place quickly and getting people moved off the island,” said Pahl.

Outer Banks tourists said the evacuation order makes sense, but it brings up other feelings.

“I love Ocracoke. We were planning on going because we like the ferry ride, so that’s kind of sad,” said Virginia Beach resident David Garrett.

“Now that kind of scares me about traffic. We’re leaving tomorrow morning and so it’s obviously everyone going to be leaving,” said Outer Banks visitor Craig Lauren.

However, it’s a county decision to help protect the community that’s bracing for another natural disaster, nearly one year after getting hit by Hurricane Dorian.

“And we are still very much in recovery from that hurricane,” said Pahl.

Later on Friday, Hyde County officials said they added an additional ferry departure to help visitors in evacuating. It’s an extra 8 p.m. ferry leaving from Ocracoke to Swan Quarter.

Hurricane Isaias is at least a couple of days away from directly impacting the Hyde County area, but officials anticipate a risk of dangerous rip currents this weekend. 

Large swells from Hurricane Isaias will begin impacting the eastern North Carolina coast over the weekend. 

Ocracoke beachgoers should monitor the National Weather Service Newport/Morehead City forecast and be mindful of the conditions when deciding to enter the water, officials said.