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One generator arrives on Ocracoke, powers a portion of the island; more generators arriving today

Power outage on Ocracoke NC July 27

Visitors leave Ocracoke for Hatteras Thursday night. Photo: C. Leinbach

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The Ocracoke Advisory Control Group, which advises the Hyde County Commissioners on emergencies meets today at 10:30 a.m. We will update news as it becomes available.

By Connie Leinbach

The area of Ocracoke Island in the vicinity of the lighthouse received power at 3:30 a.m. today, but Tideland EMC is urging all it conserve it and use it only for refrigerators and fans.

The first generator arrived on the island at 9:30 p.m. last night and is the smallest of the three, according to a Hyde County press release.

At 3:30 am our crews successfully energized the south circuit, which is a small section of the island in the island.

“Overnight the load on the generator looked good but it will become more challenging as the day heats up,” the release said.  “If the load becomes too high they will fail. If you see lights begin to dim it could signal that the generator is beginning to overload so please begin to turn things off once again to reduce the load.”

If the generator does overload, it will shut down and Tideland will have to start all over again bringing the circuit up.

The other two, much larger generators will be aboard the 1 p.m. ferry from Swan Quarter to Ocracoke. Tideland hopes to have those two generators up and running by tonight.

Power outage Ocracoke NC July 2017

The gasoline queue at Ocracoke Station this morning. Laurie Death, proprietor, urges calm, noting the station has plenty of gas. ‘We went through 3,000 gallons yesterday and have 2,500 gallons today,’ she said.

Yesterday, the Hyde County Board of Commissioners has issued a mandatory evacuation of all non-residents effective at 5 p.m.  This is to conserve power once generators are working.

The National Park Service has closed its campground until the crisis is over.

The power went out to Hatteras and Ocracoke islands at 4:30 Thursday morning when PCL Construction, the contractors building the new Bonner Bridge, drove a piling through the underground cable between the southern end of Bonner Bridge at the Oregon Inlet and the first riser pole on Hatteras Island.

Tommy Hutcherson, owner of the Variety Store and a member of the Ocracoke Advisory Control Group, which advises the Hyde County Commissioners on emergencies, said today that if the repair crews have the right materials, the repair could be done in a few days. If not, it could take much longer.

The Control Group is meeting today at 10:30 a.m.

The Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Dept. opened to the public today at 8 a.m. as a cooling and charging station. Medical personnel will be onsite to help treat heat related injuries.

As for the evacuation, there is no deadline on when visitors must be off the island but the county requests that all visitors please attempt to be off the island by noon today.

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

The N.C. Ferry Division said priority boarding is suspended on all vessels leaving Ocracoke, and tolls will be waived for ferries on trips between Ocracoke and Cedar Island or Swan Quarter.

Evacuation procedures will remain in effect for all Ocracoke ferries until Hyde County emergency officials lift the order.

Noah Sultan of Chevy Chase, Md., is among the crowd at Howard’s Pub Thursday night eating and charging their cell phones. Photo: C. Leinbach

Yesterday, Gov. Roy Cooper has signed a state of emergency declaration and waived weight and hours of service restrictions due to the power outage.

“This declaration will allow us to move much-needed resources through the state as quickly as possible to help restore the power to Ocracoke and Hatteras Islands,” Cooper said. 
The waiver is in effect until rescinded.

Cape Hatteras Electric is delivering sparse power to various parts of Hatteras via diesel generators. The electric cooperative has asked everyone in the two villages to turn off their air conditioning and conserve power.

On ferries, priority boarding is suspended for all vessels leaving Ocracoke, and tolls will be waived for ferries on trips between Ocracoke and Cedar Island or Swan Quarter.

Evacuation procedures will remain in effect for all Ocracoke ferries until Hyde County emergency officials lift the order.

Due to the power outage, the Latina Fiesta scheduled for Saturday has been canceled. The next one is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 12, in the Community Center.

Ice at the Variety Store is the hottest selling item on Ocracoke. Tommy Hutcherson, proprietor, said they went through two ice trucks yesterday and more is on its way. Photo: C. Leinbach

1 reply »

  1. PCL Construction, have you never seen the signs or heard the warning: “Call before you dig”? You have put a world of hurt on a lot of good people. You are supposed to be professionals. I feel that you should find a way to reimburse these communities for income lost!