Hatters, Ocracoke islands in NC evacuated after power outage


As day two of power outages rolls on across Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands on the Outer Banks, residents have learned that rolling blackouts and limited generator-driven power will be a way of life for days, if not a week or more.

Hyde County Emergency Services official Colby Sawyer said the power outages, which are affecting about 7,700 customers on Hatteras Island and another 1,300 on Ocracoke Island could last for a while.

"It could take three to four days, maybe a week in a half to two weeks until power is restored," Sawyer told our sister station WCTI.

Sawyer also confirmed that three generators were on their way to Ocracoke Island to power bare necessity electric needs. Two are being loaded on to ferries at Swan Quarter Friday afternoon for transport to Ocracoke Island.

Tourists - some estimates have as many as 10,000 nonresidents staying on the two islands - have been asked to evacuate the islands by noon on Friday. The normal ferry services are not allowing anyone but residents to travel to the islands from the mainland.

Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative said in a press release Friday morning that they continue to work to restore power to the island's residents and businesses.

Right now, power has been provided by diesel-powered generator plant in Buxton and two portable generators in Avon and Waves. CHEC is asking residents to use as little electricity as possible due to the limited supply available, including shutting off air conditioning, water heaters, HVAC units and all other non-essential breakers.

"These generators will only be able to run if load is at minimal levels and everyone is conserving," CHEC said in a press release.

Crews from multiple electric companies have been called in to help monitor the generators on a 24/7 basis.

CHEC said the power outage was caused by damage to a transmission line along Bonner Bridge. Crews from PCL Construction accidentally drove a steel cable into the transmission cable while building the new Bonner Bridge.

The first step, which is already underway, is to excavate the site. Once that is done, crews can assess the damage and give a better estimate for how long repairs will take.

Dare County, of which Hatteras Island is a part, has issued a water consumption alert, asking residents and businesses to conserve as much water as possible due to a drop in production capacity. There is no change in the water's quality.