Ocracoke Island

Hazelnut, newest member of the herd of ponies on Ocracoke, NC. Born born on February 4, 2015 at approximately 10:00 a.m.
National Park Service

Say hello to Hazelnut! She was born mid-morning a couple of days ago into the celebrated Ocracoke pony herd.

Hazelnut's father is a direct descendant of the original Ocracoke ponies. The mother joined the herd in 2010.

The ponies are an important part of the region's history. Legend has it that the “Banker” horses survived being thrown overboard by European ships carrying livestock to the New World in the 16th or 17th century.

NCDOT

A new, longer ferry route between Hatteras and Ocracoke Island on the Outer Banks is now permanent. 

Officials from the U.S. Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers and the North Carolina Department of Transportation made the announcement Monday. 

Tim Hass of the state Ferry Division says the original shorter route continues to be a problem.

An illustration of Hurricane Arthur's projected path.
National Weather Service

Category one Hurricane Arthur has maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour.

Hatteras Island residents have begun a mandatory evacuation this morning, and a State of Emergency has been issued for all of Dare County. Hyde County has issued a voluntary evacuation for Ocracoke Island for 2 p.m. today.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Lara Pagano said North Carolinians can expect to feel the effects of the hurricane's outer bands today.

A map of the channel depths shows how sand moved back into the original channel over the course of a month.
NCDOT / Facebook

The state DOT says Hatteras Inlet remains impassible in some areas as ferries prepare to switch to a busier summer schedule. 

A series of storms clogged the channel between Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands this winter, forcing crews to clear a longer detour.  A dredge has been clearing the original route, but officials say a boat bottomed out during a trial run last week.

"It's hard to say what's causing the changes there," says Jed Dixon, deputy director of the NC Ferry Division.

NCDOT

Ferry service between Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands could resume as early as this week with an alternate route.  The state Department of Transportation says surveyors have identified a longer channel that could allow ferries to pass.  Service has been spotty or suspended since Hurricane Sandy and two nor'easters made the normal route impassible during low tides.  DOT spokesman Steve Abbott says the agency hopes to reopen the route quickly to let traffic flow to an area that relies heavily on tourism from Spring to Fall.

The North Carolina Ferry Division says service remains spotty between Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands.
NCDOT

The North Carolina Ferry Division says service remains spotty between Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands. State transportation officials have been suspending service on a daily basis since a series of storms in November. Ferry Division spokeswoman Lucy Wallace says the channel routinely experiences shallow waters after high winds and heavy rain:

AAA Carolinas expects more drivers on the road this holiday weekend despite damage from Hurricane Irene. The agency says about 870,000 motorists will be traveling in North Carolina over the Labor Day weekend. That's about 1 percent more than this time last year. And AAA Carolinas spokesman Tom Crosby says that includes areas with storm damage.

US Senator Kay Hagan, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and Governor Bev Perdue
hagan.senate.gov

Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands remain cut off from the mainland after Hurricane Irene dumped water and sand on several parts of Highway 12. There are several breaches in the highway just north of Rodanthe. Governor Bev Perdue says officials are doing all they can.

Hurricane Irene
nasa.gov

Evacuations are underway on Ocracoke Island ahead of Hurricane Irene. Lucy Wallace is spokeswoman for the Ocracoke Ferry Office.

Ferry terminal on Ocracoke Island
ncdot.org

Some of the budget cuts under consideration by state lawmakers could lead to increased tolls for ferry services on the Outer Banks. The state Department of Transportation has come up with budget options for the state Ferry Division. One proposal would charge a 10-dollar toll for ferry services that are currently free, and double the price of other ferries. Residents of Ocracoke Island aren't happy with that idea.