N.C. Department of Transportation crews along the Outer Banks and across northeastern North Carolina are preparing for Tropical Storm Hermine as it makes its way into North Carolina and aims for the coast.
In the department’s Division One, which includes the Outer Banks and the northeastern counties, transportation personnel have been prepping since last weekend. Initially it was for a tropical storm that turned out to have minimal impact on Tuesday, but the impact from this storm is expected to be much stronger.
Equipment has been staged in various areas since the previous threat so crews can quickly react to any issues that develop, such as sand overwash on roads. A front loader and motor grader are in place on Ocracoke Island and in Buxton, a front loader is set at Kitty Hawk, and several pieces of equipment are set up in the parking lot south of the Oregon Inlet bridge on Pea Island. Additional staff was shifted to Ocracoke so that workers will be in place to begin cleanup along Highway 12 if ferries should be delayed in restoring service.
Other workers have been ensuring barricades and appropriate signage are on hand, and that chainsaws are fueled and ready to use. Crews are also reviewing safety protocol regarding swift moving water and downed power lines, and making sure they are wearing proper safety equipment. They will be on standby through the weekend to go where needed.
Equipment and traffic safety devices at construction sites are also being removed or secured. At the Bonner Bridge project, the contractor has implemented a severe weather plan that includes relocation of some marine equipment to protected areas and securing of other equipment. Department of Transportation location and surveys staff are on standby to perform a post-storm underwater sonar survey of the existing bridge to check for any issues caused by Hermine.
The heavy rain expected can often bring flash flooding and area residents are urged to avoid unnecessary travel during the storm. If you must travel, use extra care and take precautions:
Residents and visitors can to download the ReadyNC app for real-time weather and traffic information. Road condition updates are also available in the Travel section of NCDOT.gov or by following NCDOT on Twitter, where the storm can be followed at #HermineNC.
FERRIES TO AND FROM OCRACOKE
Based on current forecasts for the arrival of Tropical Storm Hermine, the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division will suspend operations to and from Ocracoke Island, with the final ferry departing for Hatteras Island at 5:30 p.m.
The last ferry from Ocracoke to Swan Quarter was scheduled for 3:45 p.m., and the final Ocracoke-Cedar Island ferry departed at 4 p.m.
Hyde County issued a mandatory evacuation order for island visitors on Thursday afternoon, following a declaration of a State of Emergency by Governor Pat McCrory.
Ferries inbound to Ocracoke Island have also suspended operations, with final departures from Cedar Island at 4 p.m., Swan Quarter at 4:30 p.m., and Hatteras at 6:45 p.m. Only residents, homeowners, or vendors with an Ocracoke re-entry sticker on their vehicles will be allowed on these ferries.
All routes will resume operations as soon as it is safe to do so.
For real-time travel information, visit the Traveler Services section of NCDOT.gov or follow NCDOT on Twitter.
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
Because of potential impacts from Tropical Storm Hermine, visitor services and facilities at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, and Wright Brothers National Memorial, will be temporarily suspended. Starting on Friday, September 2, 2016, the following are in effect:
CAPE HATTERAS ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE
Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative stands ready to respond if power outages result from Tropical Storm Hermine. CHEC crews are preparing equipment and vehicles in case the storm causes outages on the island.
When severe weather causes outages, CHEC crews begin working immediately to restore service in a safe and efficient manner. Members should make sure they have CHEC’s outage reporting number, 866-511-9862, available. CHEC will post updates to chec.coop, Facebook and Twitter if needed. If necessary, additional information will be broadcasted on Radio Hatteras, 99.9 and 101.5FM.
Now is the time to prepare an emergency kit that includes non-perishable food and bottled water, a flashlight, radio, batteries and any other items necessary for getting through a power outage. If you encounter a fallen, sparking or sagging power line, do not touch it. Stay far away, and report it to CHEC or call 911 immediately.