10,000 without power, repairs progressing steadily

Published 2:03 pm Tuesday, August 4, 2020

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Power crews, tree cutters and linemen were working steadily Tuesday afternoon to restore power to much of Beaufort County, after Tropical Storm Isaias left more than 10,000 local customers without electricity that morning.


With damage assessments starting early Tuesday morning, Tideland EMC reported 5,371 members still without power as of Tuesday afternoon. According to Tideland Corporate Communications Manager Heidi Smith, the co-op was spared extensive damage to its infrastructure, which she said would make for a series of quick restorations Tuesday afternoon.

“We’re making really good progress,” Smith said. “At this point, the numbers aren’t dropping because they have to work the whole line and get it clear before they energize it. Once they get everything clear, we should see the numbers come down pretty quickly.”

Smith said the hardest-hit areas for the co-op were the Crystal Beach community on the south side of the river and Bayview on the north side. While it had not been confirmed as such by the National Weather Service on Tuesday afternoon, Smith said it appeared that a tornado may have been responsible for the damage. She said work would continue in those areas Wednesday.

“By all accounts, it appears to have been a tornado,” Smith said. “That’s based on the fact of how many broken poles we had. It was very, very isolated. It didn’t look like a regular wind shear. Those will be the two areas where I would say we’re going to have the most issues.”


On Tuesday afternoon, Duke Energy reported 552 customers still without power on the south side of the Pamlico, down from 1,520 earlier in the morning. Estimated times of restoration for those customers were unavailable on the Duke Energy outage map, which can be accessed at duke-energy.com.


At the height of the storm, Washington City Manager Jonathan Russell estimates that between 3,000 to 3,500 Washington electric customers lost power during the storm. Aided by additional personnel Tuesday morning, Washington Electric crews had restored all the system’s major circuits by Tuesday afternoon, and Russell anticipated that all customers would be restored by Tuesday evening.

“We were monitoring the situation last night and identifying the outages as they were occurring,” Russell said Tuesday afternoon. “We deployed all of our staff that was on call (Tuesday) morning, as well as two additional crews that were brought on to get everything reconnected. We are wrapping things up.”


In Belhaven, where the town receives its electricity from Dominion Energy, Town Manager Lynn Davis said that all 1,300 of the town’s electric customers were without power Tuesday afternoon. Once Dominion reenergizes its lines, Davis said the town would likely come back online quickly.

“That problem is bigger than Belhaven, because we get our power from Dominion, and they are out as well,” Davis said Tuesday. “I have not heard a timeline, but we will have all of our circuits ready when Dominion is ready.”