Crews working to assess damage, evacuation still in effect

Published 8:35 pm Friday, July 28, 2017

OCRACOKE — Engineers have arrived on-site at the damaged portion of the main transmission line, and are continuing to assess the state of the system. Excavation crews began digging down to the line at around 1 p.m. Friday and are making good progress toward reaching the line.

A trench box has been set and a dewatering system is in place to allow crews to dig the final 2-3 feet out. Light sources have been brought in for the crews working, and they will continue to work through the night. Once crews have reached the transmission line, a detailed review of the damage can be completed. We have been told that the engineers hope to have a damage and repair assessment by Saturday afternoon.

Tideland EMC is reporting that all three emergency generators are located on the island. As earlier reported, one generator was brought online at around 3:30 a.m. Friday. This generator only powers a small area near the lighthouse. This generator is only providing energy for fans and refrigeration, so HVAC and other resource-intensive systems are prohibited from being turned on at this time.

The other two generators arrived Friday afternoon; however, one generator is missing the equipment needed to connect it to the circuit. Tideland is in the process of connecting the one generator tonight and hopes to have it operational by midnight. They hope to have the required equipment to connect the second generator by Saturday afternoon. Until that happens, they will operate the remaining two circuits that are currently down on a rotating schedule of four hours. They will provide a rotation schedule by 10 p.m. Friday. The rotation will not affect the generator that is currently operational on the south circuit. The use restrictions currently in place for the small generator on the island shall also apply when the other generators are brought online.

The mandatory evacuation order for all visitors to Ocracoke Island is still in effect. Only individuals who are Ocracoke residents, seasonal residents, non-resident property owners, vendors and emergency personnel who display a valid re-entry pass, or who possess some form of documentation proving residency and/or employment, will be allowed access to the island.

We would also like to remind everyone the Dare County officials have requested that anyone evacuating from Ocracoke to Hatteras please wait until you get north of Oregon Inlet until you attempt to get gas or lodging as they are facing shortages themselves.

As the order for evacuation is mandatory, all visitors on the island are ordered to leave immediately. The Hyde County Board of Commissioners and State of North Carolina have both declared states of emergency, and any individual who fails to leave an evacuated area shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. All renters should be aware that, pursuant to Article 6 of Chapter 42A-36 of the North Carolina General Statutes, travel insurance claims may be made when a claimant is complying with a mandatory evacuation. Please contact a travel insurance policy provider after evacuating from the island.

Tideland EMC has one portable generator on the island that was made operational at around 3:30 a.m. Friday. This generator only powers a small area near the lighthouse. This generator is only providing energy for fans and refrigeration, so HVAC and other resource-intensive systems are prohibited from being turned on at this time. Two other generators traveled on the 1 p.m. ferry to Ocracoke from Swan Quarter, with Tideland EMC estimating a timeframe of six to eight hours after the generators arrive on the island before they are operational. The use restrictions currently in place for the small generator on the island shall also apply when the other generators are brought online.

Engineers are on-site at the damaged portion of the transmission line, and are currently assessing the extent of the damage to the system. We hope to provide further information as to the damage and get a better idea of a repair time frame later Friday afternoon.

As of 4 p.m., the NCDOT Ferry Division reported that it had evacuated 3,406 people transported 1,316 cars. Fuel deliveries for the generators are scheduled for 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday from Swan Quarter. We also anticipate delivery of a transformer that is needed to support the power grid around midnight Friday. We will transit this across Hatteras Inlet when it arrives. Traffic has steadied off with no wait at this time at the ferry terminals.

If you have any questions about ferry reservations, cancellations or refunds, please contact the NCDOT Ferry Division at 252-928-5311.