August 24, 2011 Facebook TwitterMore...



UPDATE: Dare orders mandatory evacuation of all visitors

By IRENE NOLAN

The Dare County Control Group has ordered a mandatory evacuation for all visitors in the county, beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday.

The control group met this evening after the 5 p.m. update on Hurricane Irene from the National Hurricane Center.

At 5 p.m., the Category 3 storm had winds of 120 mph and was moving northwest at 12 miles an hour. Forecasters expect it take a turn to the north-northwest and then north on Thursday.

It is also expected to intensify, perhaps to a Category 4 storm with winds 131-155 mph by late tomorrow.

More troubling for Hatteras and Ocracoke is the fact that the forecast models, which had been  moving the storm to the east began moving it back to the west this afternoon.

On the projected Hurricane Center track, which can be up to 200 miles in error three days out, the eye of Irene could pass close to Cape Hatteras on Saturday afternoon.

In a media release after this evening’s meeting, Dare County Emergency Management urged all visitors to make preparations and leave the area.  Visitors are advised to take all personal belongings with them during evacuation.  Other preparation steps are available at www.ReadyNC.org  and www.darenc.com.

Although the mandatory evacuation order is for all Dare County visitors, residents are advised to take proper precautions and make general storm preparations.  This effort should include securing all loose items outdoors.  Monitor local news outlets for further advisories from the National Weather Service and state and local emergency management officials. 

The Dare County Control Group will meet again on Thursday, Aug. 25 after the 5 p.m. storm advisory has been issued by the National Hurricane Center.  Further evacuations should be anticipated as Hurricane Irene moves closer to the Outer Banks.

At this time, Dare County is issuing no new re-entry stickers.  The previously issued stickers, for 2008/2009, are still valid.  Residents can also use a North Carolina driver’s license showing a Dare County address.   Property owners may use a Dare County tax bill with proper identification for re-entry.

A high rip current risk remains in effect, through Thursday evening, south of Rodanthe as swells from the hurricane continue to affect the coast.

Dare County Schools, which had been scheduled to open tomorrow, will be closed on Thursday, Aug. 25, and Friday, Aug. 26. Makeup days will be on Saturday, Sept. 10, and Wednesday, Nov. 23. Both makeup days will be half-days. All after-school activities are cancelled for Thursday and Friday, including the After-School Enrichment Program. Twelve-month employees should report on time Thursday.

Dare County garbage pickup will be done on a regular basis through Friday, Aug. 26. 

Updates and bulletins will be issued on an as needed basis and will be available on www.darenc.com and Government Access Channel 20.


NATIONAL PARK SERVICE INFORMATION

All National Park Service campgrounds -- Ocracoke, Frisco, Cape Point and Oregon Inlet -- closed at noon today, Wednesday, Aug. 24.  The Ocracoke Campground reservation system has been temporarily suspended.

 The Silver Lake Marina NPS docks also closed at noon today. 

The Ocracoke Visitor Center, Hatteras Island, Bodie Island and Wright Brothers and Fort Raleigh Visitor Centers will remain open until close of business today, then will remain closed until further notice.  Previously scheduled evening programs for Aug. 24 are cancelled. 

Lifeguarded beach operations at Ocracoke, Buxton, and Coquina Beach will close at 5 p.m. today, and remain closed until further notice.

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse will close at 6 p.m. today, until further notice.  All park special programs scheduled for Founder’s Day, Thursday, August 25, have been cancelled.  Regularly scheduled Fall interpretive programming will resume after the storm passes the area.

The Flags Over Hatteras event, scheduled for August 25-28, has been postponed until further notice due to the threat of Hurricane Irene. 

In preparation for the storm, Ocracoke beaches were closed to off-road vehicles by 6 p.m. today, and all other beaches in the national seashore will close to off-road vehicles by 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 25. 


MORE DARE COUNTY INFORMATION


The Dare County Control Group has activated the Joint Information Section (JIS) in response to Hurricane Irene.  All information regarding local government agencies in Dare County will be released through this source effective today, Wednesday, Aug. 24.
 
The JIS is a collaborative organization that encompasses the six municipal governments in Dare County, the National Park Service, the Dare County Sheriff’s Office, and the County of Dare, all of which have representatives on the Dare County Control Group.  The JIS is operated in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Manteo and managed by Dare County Emergency Management.
 
Outlets for information include the following:

The Dare County website at www.darenc.com
Government Access Channel 20, Charter Cable Channel 20
Releases e-mailed and faxed to local, regional, and national press outlets
Emergency Management Public Phone Inquiry Line at 252-475-5655
 
Other Important Numbers:

  • NCDOT inside North Carolina:  511
  • NCDOT outside North Carolina:  1-877-DOT-4YOU (1-877-638-4968)
  • North Carolina Highway Patrol:  1-800-441-6127
  • Virginia DOT:  1-800-367-7623
  • NC Ferry Service:  1-800-BY-FERRY
  • Dominion/North Carolina Power:  1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357)
  • Cape Hatteras Electric:  1-866-511-9862
  • Tideland Electric:  1-800-637-1079
  • North Carolina Attorney General (Price Gouging):  919-716-6000 (Outside NC) and 877-566-7226 (Inside NC)

 
The public and media should dial 911 in case of emergency only.



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