Hurricane Earl forces Ocracoke island tourists to mainland

by Tiffany Millar on September 2, 2010

With hurricane Earl quickly approaching, 5,000 tourists have been asked to vacate Ocracoke island as the entire US east coast braces for the storm.

Those holidaying off the popular beach spot off of North Carolina have begun boarding ferries today heading for the mainland as the evacuation orders are given. Vehicles are lined up in droves to board the ferries, which is the only way off of Ocracoke island. The total ferry ride back to the mainland is two and a half hours.

Lindsey Mooney, the emergency services director said that officials are hoping that the island’s 800 full-time residents will evacuate along with the tourists, although the mandate is not required for them. Hyde County commissioner Kenneth Collie said that he could not recall the last time an evacuation order had to be issued for the island.

Should the hurricane hit the US east coast hard, further evacuations along the eastern seaboard may be mandated. Currently, officials are closing following the path being taken by the storm, which earlier today weakened down to a category 3 hurricane and remains out over the Caribbean.

At present, forecasters have said that it’s too early to know if the hurricane will make land or not. The storm is the largest to threaten the east coast since 1991’s hurricane Bob.

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