In the wake of a power outage early this morning on Ocracoke Island, the Hyde County Board of Commissioners has issued a mandatory evacuation of all non-residents starting at 5 p.m. today.
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 Friday.
Ferries are running on their normal schedules. Dare County officials are requesting that visitors evacuating via the Hatteras Ferry try to get north of Oregon Inlet before attempting to get gas or find lodging. Their resources are being affected by the same outage.
Tideland Electric Cooperative said on its website no one will be allowed on the island unless they can prove residency. The duration of the evacuation is unknown.
Tideland said that 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. This cut the power at 4:30 a.m. today.
Crews will arrive at Oregon Inlet tonight to assess the damage. Depending on the extent of the repairs and the specialized materials required, transmission repairs could take anywhere from days to weeks to complete.
Tideland’s initial attempt to operate the Ocracoke generator was unsuccessful after a 10-minute run time and resulted in equipment damage that currently renders the generator inoperable.
Tideland said it has located three mobile generators that will be transported to the island to run the island’s three circuits to avoid rotating service schedules.
The three generators should all be on the island on Friday, July 28. The earliest residents can expect electric service to resume will be Friday evening.
However, before they throw the switch, it will be crucial for residents to turn off HVAC and other large-electric load appliances, said Darlene Styron, owner of the Sweet Tooth and a member of the Ocracoke Advisory Control Group, which advises the Hyde County Commissioners on emergencies.
Tideland said the success of operating the island on generator power depends entirely on people observing the strictest conservation habits possible.
Tideland asks all to immediately shut off all non-essential breakers and to limit electric use to refrigeration and fans when you do receive power.
While you may be tempted to do so, we ask that you not use air conditioning systems when generator power is established.
Tideland will notify members as the generators are installed and as they begin to come on line.
Styron did not know if Dare County, in which Hatteras is located, had ordered an evacuation.
The state Health and Human Services Dept. gave a few general recommendations to keep as cool as possible when power outages occur.
For Tideland Electric updates, click here.