July 12, 2015

Waterspout is suspected in Ocracoke power outage


Power was restored to Ocracoke early this morning after a suspected waterspout damaged power poles on the island last evening during a severe thunderstorm.

According to Tideland Electric Membership Corporation, electric power went down about 7:30 p.m. Crews investigating discovered two broken utility poles, two leaning poles, and damage to several spans of wire north of the Pony Pen and south of the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry dock.

Tideland reports that 1,301 homes and businesses were without electricity.

The company estimated that power would be back on by 1 a.m., but it was not restored until 4:13 a.m. because trucks got stuck in the mud in the marshy area where the poles are located.

Eastern North Carolina, including Hatteras and Ocracoke, were under a severe thunderstorm watch until 8 p.m. last night. By early evening, there warnings out for severe storms with gusty winds, frequent lightning, and heavy rainfall.

However, the National Weather Service in Newport, N.C., said it could not confirm that the damage to the Ocracoke poles was done by a waterspout or tornado.  Spokesperson Karin Goodall said there was "some rotation" on radar at the time, but that straight-line winds could have been the culprit.


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