A mandatory evacuation has been ordered for the island.
The Hyde County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously this afternoon to declare a state of emergency and order the evacuation, effective today at 3 p.m., according to a news release.
Visitors will no longer be able to travel to Ocracoke. Law enforcement officers will be stationed at each ferry terminal to allow only residents, property owners and vendors access to the island today and Friday. No inbound traffic will be allowed starting Saturday.
All ferry routes servicing Ocracoke will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. reservations and priority status will not be honored. Tolls on the sound-class ferries will be temporarily removed.
Rising water levels in the Pamlico Sound have prompted concerns by the North Carolina Ferry Division. If the water levels continue to rise, the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferries may not be able to use the loading docks, according to the Hyde County news release. As a result, anyone planning to leave Ocracoke should so so as soon as possible or face the possibility of not being able to leave via Hatteras Island.
The county reminded people who decide to ride out the hurricane on Ocracoke Island do so at their own risk and should be prepared to sustain themselves for several days in the event of flooding, downed trees or loss of electricity.
Anyone with advanced medical needs who needs special assistance should contact the Hyde County Health Department at (252) 926-4200.
An emergency general population shelter will be ready to take in residents beginning at 6 p.m. tonight. The shelter is located at Englewood Baptist Church, 1350 South Winstead Ave. in Rocky Mount. The shelter will have showers and food. Space for pets will also be available. Anyone coming to the shelter should be prepared with clothes, medications and any other necessities for several days.