Mandatory evacuation of Ocracoke non-residents

Published 8:12 pm Thursday, July 27, 2017

Due to the power outage affecting Ocracoke Island, the Hyde County Board of Commissioners has issued a mandatory evacuation of all non-residents effective on Thursday at 5 p.m.

There is no deadline on when visitors must be off the island, but we request that all visitors please attempt to be off the island by noon tomorrow. Ferries are currently running on their normal schedules.

Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency Thursday night for Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands. He also issued an executive order waiving certain vehicle weight and service-hour requirements.

“With our coastal communities bustling during one of the biggest months for tourism in the region, the safety of our coastal residents and visitors remains a top priority. I encourage all residents and visitors of Hatteras Island and Ocracoke Island to take necessary precautions, listen to local media and use good judgment throughout the duration of this power outage,” N.C. Sen. Bill Cook stated in a press release.

Dare County officials are requesting that visitors that are evacuating via the Hatteras Ferry please try and get north of Oregon Inlet before attempting to get gas or find lodging. Their resources are being affected by the same outage.

At 4:30 a.m. Thursday, power went out to Ocracoke and Hatteras islands. We have since learned that PCL Construction, the contractors building the new Bonner Bridge, drove a piling through the underground cable between the southern end of Bonner Bridge and the first riser pole on Hatteras Island. At 7:45 a.m., Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative, which owns and maintains that section of transmission line, sent a request for specialized transmission repair crews even before they knew the cause or extent of the outage. Those crews will be arriving at Oregon Inlet tonight to assess the damage. Depending on the extent of the repairs and the specialized materials required, transmission repairs could take anywhere from days to weeks to complete.

Tideland’s initial attempt to operate the Ocracoke generator was unsuccessful after a total 10-minute run time and resulted in equipment damage that currently renders the generator inoperable. Therefore, Tideland has located three mobile generators that will be transported to the island to run the island’s three circuits to avoid rotating service schedules. The three generators should all be on the island by Friday. The earliest residents should expect electric service to resume will be Friday evening.

The success of operating the island on generator power depends entirely on residents and visitors observing the strictest conservation habits possible. We ask that you immediately shut off all non-essential breakers. Please limit electric use to refrigeration and fans when you do receive power. While you may be tempted to do so, we ask that you not use air-conditioning systems when generator power is established.