Officials in Hyde County have issued a state of emergency for Ocracoke Island due to a massive power outage.
Approximately 7,700 Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative customers were without power on the Outer Banks.
The affected areas included Avon, Buxton, Frisco, Hatteras, Rodanthe, Waves and Salvo.
As of Saturday, Hatteras, Frisco, Buxton and Avon are receiving temporary power via generators. Cape Hattears Electric Cooperative has mobilized additional crews so they can deliver temporary power to Rodanthe, Salvo and Waves.
The company said during construction of the new Bonner Bridge the company drove a steel casing into the underground transmission cable that runs between the south end of the bridge and the overhead riser pole, causing the transmission outage.
Customers in Buxton and Frisco are asked to turn their AC off and minimize other electrical use so backup diesel generators can handle the load.
The Dare County Water Department has also issued a water conservation alert for Hatteras Island customers. Residents and visitors are asked to conserve as much water as possible because water production capacity is diminished due to the outage. There are no concerns about the water quality, however. It is safe to drink.
Tideland EMC unsuccessfully attempted to operate the Ocracoke generator; the attempt lasted approximately 10 minutes and resulted in equipment damage that rendered the generator inoperable.
As a result, Tideland is transporting several mobile generators to the island to run the island’s three circuits.
On Saturday around 3 p.m., generators were sent to Ocracoke. According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Ferry Unit, the generators could be supplying power as early as Saturday night.
As of now, there is a mandatory evacuation for all visitors to Ocracoke Island. No one is allowed on the island without proof of residency.
Hyde County Emergency Management mandated that all visitors be evacuated starting at 5 p.m. Thursday.
The N.C. Department of Transportation Ferry Division is assisting with the evacuation. 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.
The Hatteras ferry route will go to a “winter” scheduled Sunday. Starting Sunday, the Hatteras-Ocracoke route will be as follows:
From Hatteras: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 a.m., 12, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11 p.m., and midnight.
From Ocracoke: 4:30, 6:30, 7:30, 8:30, 9:30, 10:30, and 11:30 a.m., 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, 4:30, 5:30, 6:30, 7:30, 9:30, 10:30 p.m., and 12:30 a.m.