The Dare County Control Group has activated the Joint Information Section (JIS) in preparation for Hurricane Irene. All information regarding local government agencies in Dare County will be released through this source effective today.
Dare County Emergency Management is closely monitoring reports from the National Hurricane Center and plans are in place to handle whatever contingency may arise. Residents and visitors are encouraged to 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 later today, after the 5:00 p.m. storm advisory has been issued by the National Hurricane Center, to further assess the situation and take whatever action is necessary to assure public safety. Although Hyde County has issued an evacuation order for Ocracoke, there have been no evacuation orders issued, at this time, for any portion of Dare County.
Residents and visitors should now be making general storm preparations. This effort should include securing property and making contingency plans for evacuation, in the event an evacuation is ordered. Predetermining a destination is recommended. If an evacuation is ordered, consider calling ahead to make arrangements. During storm events, there are no emergency shelters operated in Dare County. North Carolina Emergency Management will operate shelters elsewhere and information will be announced later as it is made available.
The Ferry Division of NCDOT is assisting with the evacuation of Ocracoke Island running regular departure times from Ocracoke to Hatteras on a first-come, first-serve basis. All other ferry routes will continue to operate normal schedules until such time as they are required to tie up vessels for safety.
Rip current hazards are at a high risk in southern portions of Dare County including Hatteras Island. Wind and wave conditions at this time support a dangerous rip current advisory and are life threatening to anyone entering the surf.
In anticipation of this weather event, all NPS Campgrounds, Ocracoke, Frisco, Cape Point and Oregon Inlet, will close at noon today. The Ocracoke Campground reservation system has been temporarily suspended. The Silver Lake Marina NPS docks will close at noon today, Wednesday, August 24, 2011. The Ocracoke Visitor Center, Hatteras Island, Bodie Island and Wright Brothers and Fort Raleigh Visitor Centers will remain open until close of business today, Wednesday, August 24, 2011, then will remain closed until further notice. Previously scheduled evening programs for August 24 are cancelled. Lifeguard beach operations at Ocracoke, Buxton, and Coquina Beach will close at 5:00 p.m. today, Wednesday, August 24, 2011 until further notice.
The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse will close at 6:00 p.m. today until further notice. All park special programs scheduled for Founder’s Day, Thursday, August 25th, 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.
Ocracoke beaches will be closed to off-road vehicles by 6:00 p.m. today and all other beaches in the National Seashore will close to off-road vehicles by 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 25th.
Dare County garbage pickup will be done on a regular basis through Friday, August 26.
The Town of Duck Emergency Operations Team has met and is preparing for the event.
The Town of Nags Head is watching Hurricane Irene closely. At this point, there are no changes to operating hours or Town services.
Contractors are reminded by the Dare County Planning Department to secure all loose materials at job sites.
Updates and bulletins will be issued on an as needed basis and will be available on www.darenc.com and Government Access Channel 20.
As soon as we have more information available, we will post a message on our Facebook page and here on our Blog site.