Sundae Horn
The cone of uncertainty puts Isaias right on top of Ocracoke at 8pm Monday
The cone of uncertainty puts Isaias right on top of Ocracoke at 8pm Monday

The Ocracoke Emergency Control Group met Thursday; will meet again Friday morning to discuss a possible evacuation.

Tropical Storm Isaias became Hurricane Isaias late Thursday night. The storm has sustained winds of 70mph and gusts to 85mph as of midnight.

Please don't ask us if we're worried. Many islanders are still reeling from the longterm effects of Hurricane Dorian which flooded the island eleven months ago and we can't even articulate our feelings about the 2020 hurricane season. It's too soon. We aren't ready. Ugh. 

I usually think of an impending storm as a good excuse to clean up my yard. Joke's on me: my yard is still a mess from Dorian. 

On Thursday evening, Tom Pahl (Ocracoke's representative on the Hyde County Board of Commissioners) posted the following:

"The Control Group met by phone conference at 5:00 PM. There were roughly 12 CG members plus partners from State and Federal agencies, as well as County staff on the call. 

We heard updates from our partners and from Joey Williams, our new Director of Emergency Management. We had a discussion about the potential track and intensity of the storm. We discussed timing for an evacuation should one be ordered, though we agreed that we would like to see the 11:00 update from the NHC tomorrow before we make a recommendation regarding evacuation. As such, the group agreed to meet again tomorrow at 12:30 PM.

There was some additional discussion about the viability and wisdom of issuing a State of Emergency early tomorrow. We are especially concerned about timing of a potential evacuation because of the limited availability of sound class ferries. That is a challenge that may be further aggravated by a USCG order to take one ferry out of service on Saturday."

As noted many, many times before on the Current, the Emergency Control Group does not have public meetings. They aren't required to by law. Last year, after Hurricane Dorian, Tom Pahl promised that, in the future, the county would share information about when the Control Group was planning to meet. Today, they didn't share that information ahead of time, but Tom posted on Facebook afterward. 

The Ocracoke Emergency Control group includes representatives from Hyde County -- commissioners, county manager Kris Noble and emergency manager Joey Williams, sheriff's department, health department; NCDOT Ferry Division -- usually deputy director Jed Dixon; OVFD; Ocracoke Sanitary District (water plant) -- manager David Tolson; National Park Service; USPS -- postmaster Celeste Brooks; Ocracoke Health Center -- director Cheryl Ballance; and Coastal Gas -- Nathan Spencer. Sometimes state emergency management is involved. 

Local businesses are represented by Tommy Hutcherson, owner of the Variety Store; David Scott Esham, owner of the Pony Island Motel; Martha Garrish, realtor at Ocracoke Island Realty; and former commissioner Darlene Styron.

I confirmed with Ivey Belch today that the Ocracoke Interfaith Relief & Recovery Team (OIRRT) does not have a representative on the Control Group. Per their mission statement, the OIRRT is "a cooperative body composed of representatives from faith-based, non-profit, government, business, and other organizations working within the community to assist individuals and families as they recover from disaster." Ivey is the OIRRT board chair. Darlene Styron serves as OIRRT vice-chair and is also on the Control Group, but on the Control Group she serves as a former Hyde County commissioner and not as a representative of the OIRRT. (No other former commissioners serve/served on the Control Group.)

The Current will keep you posted about Ocracoke's experience with Isaias.