A lot can change with Hurricane Sandy. But in the meantime, state ferry officials are looking ahead and preparing for any impacts the storm may bring to eastern North Carolina.
On Thursday morning, ferry officials met to discuss the forecast track of the hurricane. The entire fleet had been put on "Alert Condition One". This ensured all ferry systems were stocked and ready in the event of a storm. Aside from checking supplies, measures would be taken to secure any items that could be picked up by strong winds. Things like trash cans and picnic tables would be strapped down. Ferries were also ordered to fill up their gas tanks in case fuel runs low.
"This is a precautionary measure," said Bobby Hill, emergency manager for North Carolina Ferries. "We have our ferries take these actions now, because in the event of a storm, there wouldn't be time to get them done."
In general, ferries were not permitted to run their normal schedules when winds exceed 35 mph. In the event of an approaching storm, emergency managers would meet with the Department of Transportation and the U.S. Coast Guard to enact the best plan of action.
After a storm plan is put into place, the ferry network will help each county with specific needs as their emergency manager sees fit.
Although the exact impacts of Sandy are still a mystery, ferry-goers say they are glad to know plans are falling into place behind the scenes.