admittedly a little nervous about Hurricane Irene all week.
this storm made a right turn at Florida, Hatteras became the target for
landfall. Forecasts read like an obituary for this little
with phrases like “It’s the big one,” “Significant ocean and soundside
flooding,” and “There could be multiple inlets.”
Not the best way to start the week.
Visitors had their vacations cut short when evacuation orders were
given for Ocracoke Island on Tuesday. The evacuation orders
Hatteras Island and Dare County came two days later.
Those of us who live here have developed our own routine for preparing
for a hurricane. With the visitors gone, people quickly got
protecting their homes, businesses, pets, and personal property from a
potential direct hit from a Category 3, maybe 4, hurricane.
Time was on our side since the hurricane was predicted to hit Saturday
evening. People secured their property and made decisions
to stay or go.
By Friday morning, most had their storm prep complete and still had
about a day to wait for the storm.
The mood of the island lightened during the day as storm track
continued to edge Hurricane Irene’s path more to the west over mainland
North Carolina, not the Pamlico Sound. Even better, the
intensity weakened and the weather pundits felt that it would make
landfall now as a Category 2 hurricane, and perhaps even a Category
1. Still a weather event to be taken seriously, but this was
significantly improved forecast for Hatteras Island.
Pam Rak said her sister struggled with the option of
Her gut was telling her to go but her head was telling her to
stay. In the end, she stayed on the island.
For most people, evacuation isn’t about leaving, it’s about getting
back. After a storm, people can’t get back onto the island
local officials declare it safe -- assuming that you can even
back to Dare County.
Chyrel Austin, owner of Burger Burger in Buxton, evacuated last year in
Hurricane Earl because she was fearful of water coming into her Frisco
home, which sits low to the ground. She sat in line for hours
get back onto the island, but eventually turned around after a long
wait and went to Nags Head. No water got into her house and
felt that the evacuation wasn’t worth the trouble.
As the storm got closer, there wasn’t a sense of panic around the
island. There weren’t many businesses open on Friday, but
were people out and about ,eating breakfast or lunch and getting last
had remained open for 24 hours a day before the storm but was
closed Friday. The smaller family grocery stores, such as
Conner’s Supermarket in Buxton and Burrus Red & White
in Hatteras village, were bustling and had plenty of groceries.
John Couch at Car Quest in Buxton had a productive day selling gas and
gas cans, spark plugs, and generator batteries.
“We have plenty of gasoline,” says Couch. He went on to
the importance of keeping the in-ground gas tanks relatively full
during flooding to keep the tanks from floating up. He will
open as long as the weather permits.
Angelo’s Pizza in Buxton had an easy feeling as locals took their time
to eat their lunch and chat with workers and patrons.
Lanie Gaskill, owner of Angelo’s Pizza, said it had been a pretty
decent day. Most people were off from work and prepared for
Hurricane Irene. With no pending obligations, customers were
back and people were enjoying the slower pace.
Gaskill shrugged off the notion of pre-hurricane jitters.
“Typical Hatteras. Same normal hurricane routine,” she
She and her family live in a safe area away from both the ocean and the
sound. Tuesday, the generator was pulled out.
pinball machines located at the restaurant were picked up and moved to
safety. The restaurant tends to get a lot of water in it
soundside flooding. The refrigeration equipment was already
elevated onto cinder blocks. The tables would be moved up
the shop was closed for the day.
The loss of business is always a concern for most business
owners. Chyrel Austin says, “Hopefully everybody can come
back. At least it’s not Labor Day.”
business secured for bad weather, Austin was looking forward
to curling up with a good book for a couple of days. After
whether we wanted it or not, most of us got a couple of days off.
Not everyone was comfortable with the weather. Cheri Johnson,
manager of Uncle Eddy’s Ice Cream in Buxton, was smiling a nervous,
“The low pressure affects me,” feels Cheri. “I feel funky,
spacey, and have headaches. Last year, I had a terrible time
Hurricane Earl but felt better as soon as it pulled away.”
is only her second hurricane.
It’s difficult to evacuate when you have a business, four cats, two
dogs, two parrots, and a puppy. But, she would have left if
forecast hadn’t improved.
lived on the island most of her life and remembers the old
days of weather forecasting.
“When I grew up, we just weathered the storm. This hype has
become too much and people depend on it now. Do we really
from 24/7 storm coverage? I miss the old weather warning flags that
once flew over Hatteras village.”
As the island waits for Hurricane Irene to make landfall, one thing is
clear. Life on Hatteras slows down before a
becomes a time of neighbor helping neighbor and families spending some
down time together.
warnings, and local Hurricane Irene statements at http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/mhx/
The Dare County Control Group has activated the Joint Information
Section (JIS) in response to Hurricane Irene. All information
regarding local government agencies in Dare County will be released
through this source effective today, Wednesday, Aug. 24.
The JIS is a collaborative organization that encompasses the six
municipal governments in Dare County, the National Park Service, the
Dare County Sheriff’s Office, and the County of Dare, all of which have
representatives on the Dare County Control Group. The JIS is
operated in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Manteo and managed
by Dare County Emergency Management.
Outlets for information include the following:
The Dare County website at www.darenc.com
Government Access Channel 20, Charter Cable Channel 20
Releases e-mailed and faxed to local, regional, and national press
Emergency Management Public Phone Inquiry Line at 252-475-5655
Other Important Numbers:
Carolina: 1-877-DOT-4YOU (1-877-638-4968)
Highway Patrol: 1-800-441-6127
- NC Ferry
Carolina Power: 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357)
Attorney General (Price Gouging): 919-716-6000 (Outside NC)
877-566-7226 (Inside NC)
stickers are available at this time. The previously issued
stickers, for 2008/2009, are still valid. Residents can also
a North Carolina driver’s license showing a Dare County
Property owners may present a Dare County tax bill with proper
identification for reentry.
The public and media should dial 911 in case of emergency only.
ELECTRIC CO-OP INFORMATION
Electric Cooperative is prepared to respond quickly to power outages
that occur as a result of Hurricane Irene, which is forecast to make
landfall along the North Carolina coast Saturday, Aug. 27.
CHEC crews stay prepared for storms of this magnitude by testing
equipment and checking supplies locally to ensure power restoration can
begin as soon as conditions are safe. At the Tarheel Electric
Membership Association (TEMA) in Raleigh, a purchasing and supply co-op
owned by the state's 26 electric cooperatives, employees are taking the
necessary steps to coordinate restoration efforts.
CHEC's crews are committed to providing safe and reliable power, but
outages caused by high winds and flooding are unpredictable. CHEC
encourages the public to remember the following:
are great to have in extended power outages, but they can be dangerous
if installed or operated improperly. Only a licensed electrician should
install one - do not attempt to do this yourself. Operate your
generator in a clean, dry, well-ventilated space. Do not operate the
unit in a confined area, such as garages, basements and storage sheds,
which lack a steady exchange of air.
- It is
prepare an emergency kit that includes a flashlight, extra batteries,
non-perishable food, a radio, blankets and bottled water in case of
experience flickering lights as wind speeds increase with the arrival
of the storm. Sustained outages may follow. CHEC line crews will begin
restoration efforts as soon as it is safe.
- STAY AWAY
or sparking power lines and report any that you may see to your local
electric cooperative IMMEDIATELY.
- To report
please call 866-511-9862.