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Ocracoke cleans up, electric power restored after Hurricane Matthew

The Ocracoke Variety Store is the place to be Monday to get provisions, coffee and charge cell phones. Photo: C. Leinbach

The Ocracoke Variety Store is the place to be Monday to get provisions, coffee and charge cell phones. Photo: C. Leinbach

Update as of 2:41 p.m.: Electric power is restored to Ocracoke. If it has not in any island households, call 800 882-1001.

For Ocracoke news, including earlier stories on Hurricane Matthew,  click here.

Monday, Oct. 10, 2016;  1 p.m.

By Connie Leinbach

Ocracoke on Monday continues to assess damage and clean up after the passage of Hurricane Matthew on Sunday.

The Variety Store was the place to be Monday as residents mingled inside and on the porch, sipping complimentary coffee and discussing the storm and its aftermath.

Since the store has a generator, coffee was available as well as cell phone charging ports.

“We have all kinds of connectors here,” said clerk Trudy Austin. “And coffee is on the house.”

In addition to food, bleach, mops and brooms were hot items.

Hyde County Manager Bill Rich reported after the morning meeting of the Ocracoke Deputy Control Group that a lot of information is still coming in.

As for electricity, he said that Tideland EMC is optimistic that power will be restored later today.

Rich said local crews have repaired three of the four damaged poles at the north end of the island along Highway 12. They are working on the fourth one today.

“Bobby O’Neal and his crew did a great job,” Rich said.  

Islanders in the Ocracoke Variety Store discuss the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, get a cup of complimentary coffee and charge their cell phones. Photo: C. Leinbach

Islanders in the Ocracoke Variety Store discuss the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, get a cup of complimentary coffee and charge their cell phones. Photo: C. Leinbach

The N.C. Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division has received conditional approval from the U.S. Coast Guard to resume service to and from Ocracoke Island for first responders only. Service was suspended due to hazardous conditions caused by Hurricane Matthew.

The schedule for service today is as follows:
1 p.m. Swan Quarter and Cedar Island to Ocracoke
1 p.m. Ocracoke to Cedar Island
4 p.m. Cedar Island to Ocracoke and Ocracoke to Cedar Island

Crews are currently conducting test runs on the Hatteras Inlet route to Ocracoke.

Full passenger operations remain suspended until the Ferry Division receives clearance from the Coast Guard. Once approved, service will resume under the guidelines of Hyde County’s re-entry protocols.

As for clean-up, Rich said the county is poised to hire a debris clean-up contractor who will arrive on the island sometime soon to assess damage.  Property owners should put tree debris only out on the streets.

The Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Company today will make an island-wide assessment of home and business damage.

The Control Group will meet again today at 5 p.m.

Important safety message from Hyde County officials:

If there’s any chance that your car wires got wet, disconnect your car battery immediately. There’s a chance that batteries can spontaneously catch fire.

“During Hurricane Alex (2004), when vehicles got flooded with water, they exploded,” Hyde County Manager Bill Rich said today.

The county advises all not to play in the flooded water, especially in bare feet or bare legs. There are lots of contaminants in the flood surge. (See graphic below).

As for Dare County, just north of Ocracoke, damage assessment teams are working to assess the conditions caused by Hurricane Matthew, according to a press release today.

Islanders can charge their cell phones at the Ocracoke Variety Store, as Bobby Turner, right is doing. Trudy Austin, left, welcomes everyone to complimentary coffee. Photo: C. Leinbach

Islanders can charge their cell phones at the Ocracoke Variety Store, as Bobby Turner, right is doing. Trudy Austin, left, welcomes everyone to complimentary coffee. Photo: C. Leinbach

Entry to Dare County and to Currituck County’s Outer Banks continues to be restricted because significant portions of Dare County are still experiencing hazardous road conditions and power outages. 

Residents attempting travel between the Bonner Bridge and Rodanthe are advised to use extreme caution due to large amounts of sand and water on NC Highway 12.  NCDOT is working to address the situation.  Until conditions improve, only residents and essential personnel with permits should attempt to travel this area and do so only in high-profile 4-wheel drive vehicles.

The National Park Service reports that there are no planned openings of any visitor services or facilities today for Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, or Wright Brothers National Memorial.

Safety assessments began yesterday afternoon, and work crews are on the grounds this morning to begin necessary clean-up and repairs. Services and facilities will reopen once clean-up and repairs are completed, and as staff are able to return to work.

WOVV lost its transmission tower for 90.1 FM, but is still broadcasting online at wovv.org. Officials said today they do not know when restoration of FM broadcasting will resume.

Ocracoke School will remain closed tomorrow (Tuesday).

A tree at Edwards of Ocracoke motel is a casualty of Hurricane Matthew. Hyde County officials asked residents to move tree debris to the side of the roads so that a debris contractor coming on the island can assess damage. Photo: C. Leinbach

A tree at Edwards of Ocracoke motel is a casualty of Hurricane Matthew. Hyde County officials asked residents to move tree debris to the side of the roads so that a debris contractor coming on the island can assess damage. Photo: C. Leinbach

Though much reduced, the tide continues to come in Monday on the island as seen in this shot of Sunset Drive below Friendly Ridge. Photo: C. Leinbach

Though much reduced, the tide continues to come in Monday on the island as seen in this shot of Sunset Drive below Friendly Ridge. Photo: C. Leinbach

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