Mandatory evacuation ordered for Ocracoke Island ahead of Hurricane Isaias

N.C. 12 on the north end of Ocracoke Island, which has been repeatedly washed out by storms, on Friday, July 31, 2020. [NCDOT image]

Officials in Hyde County have ordered the mandatory evacuation of visitors on Ocracoke Island as of noon today, and for residents and property owners beginning at 6 a.m., Saturday, August 1.

Ocracoke entry is currently restricted to residents, homeowners, vendors and other essential personnel. You will need an Ocracoke re-entry pass or adequate documentation on the vehicle to be allowed on any ferries inbound to Ocracoke. Once the evacuation orders are active, only emergency personnel will be allowed entry to the island.

Individuals should be aware that the sound-side ferry routes are already operating at a greatly reduced capacity due to shoaling in a key channel. It is highly recommended that you utilize the Ocracoke-Hatteras ferry route as the sound routes will reach capacity fast. Everyone should begin their evacuations as soon as possible.

The Ocracoke Control Group met Friday morning at 9 a.m. to receive the latest updates on the storm and to discuss actions necessary to ensure public safety.

“The storm forecasts now have a solid category 1 impacting us sometime mid to late day on Monday,” Hyde County Commissioner Tom Pahl said in a Facebook post.

The group declared a state of emergency at 8 a.m., immediately restricting access to the island, which was hit hard by Hurricane Dorian in September.

The Hyde County Emergency Operations Center has been activated and can be reached at 252-926-3715. The Hyde County Emergency Services Department will continue to monitor the forecast for Hurricane Isaias and issue advisories as appropriate. For the most current and official information please monitor the National Hurricane Center website at ​​.

“We are dealing with some factors that make these decisions especially troublesome right now. We are down to two sound class ferries that are able to come to Ocracoke because of the shoaling at Big Foot Slough,” Pahl wrote. “In addition, one of those ferries is scheduled, by order of the USCG, to be taken out of service on Saturday for a dry dock order. We are also moving the county-owned trailers to the mainland by dedicated ferry runs. We are also addressing COVID issues as they may affect any and all of our preparations and response to this storm.”

In Dare County, emergency management officials will meet Saturday morning to discuss plans ahead of the storm. Officials are asking visitors to consider delaying travel to the Outer Banks this weekend.

Stay with for the latest updates on Outer Banks hurricane evacuation and preparation plans.

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Kari Pugh is digital director for, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and News Talk 92.3 WZPR. Reach her at