The state of emergency for all of Hyde County and mandatory visitor evacuation of Ocracoke Island has been lifted. This morning NCDOT officials confirmed that road conditions were acceptable for travel and the NCDOT Ferry Division operated a successful test run. Based on that information, the Ocracoke Deputy Control Group recommended that the visitor evacuation order be canceled. The Hyde County Board of Commissioners immediately called for a vote and issued a proclamation lifting the state of emergency and visitor evacuation order. The Cedar Island and Swan Quarter ferry routes will resume scheduled service immediately, while the Hatteras route will resume service at 1pm, when Hatteras Island reopens to visitors. Visitors coming via Hatteras will not be allowed past the Bonner Bridge checkpoint until Dare County’s evacuation order is lifted at 1 pm.
Visitors returning to Ocracoke should be aware that there will be some areas of standing water on theroadways and drive very cautiously. Additionally, saltwater can cause damage to vehicles. The threat of dangerous surf and strong rip currents is very high along the beaches of Outer Banks and they are expected to persist throughout the weekend. Individuals visiting the beaches of Ocracoke need to be aware that National Park Service lifeguard services have ended for the season and be extremely careful if you are planning on entering the water.
If caught in a rip current remain calm. Don’t fight the current. Swim in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim back to shore. If tired, float or tread water until out of the rip current. If you are unable to escape, face the shore and call or wave for help.
Shore break occurs when waves break directly on the beach. The most common injuries associated with strong shore break are neck and back injuries, which most often occur when the powerful surf throws a swimmer or surfer head first into the bottom. It is extremely important to protect your head and neck whenever you are in breaking waves by keeping your hands in front of you at all times.