BUXTON, N.C. (WNCN) — Dare County officials announced about 8 p.m. Friday that all visitors must evacuate Hatteras Island in the Outer Banks effective 6 a.m. Saturday.
The Outer Banks’ southern beaches and Ocracoke Island have been struggling since crews working on a replacement for the Outer Banks’ well-known Bonner Bridge, which links Hatteras Island with the area’s northern beaches, drove a steel casing through an electric transmission line.
That cut power to the areas. Efforts to supply some power with generators have had mixed success, and people on the islands have been asked to avoid using air conditioning and other appliances.
The villages of Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras are covered by the order. A similar order had already been given for Ocracoke.
Areas north of Oregon Inlet, which include big-name towns such as Nags Head and Kitty Hawk, remain unaffected.
The new order cited “life safety issues from the loss of reliable electrical power” as well as “growing uncertainty as to when repairs to the main transmission line will be completed.”
“Residents, non-resident property owners, essential personnel, and non-resident employees of non-critical businesses will be allowed entry with proper reentry credentials,” officials wrote in an announcement.
Before the evacuation order was issued, John and Katie Warnell were travelling from Durham to Hatteras Island to bring additional food and necessities to relatives who live on the island.
“Bring them some supplies. They need a window air conditioning unit, so we’ll be picking one of those up on the way,” said John. “Really for us it’s just the generator and getting power and kind of keeping the house cool and helping out if anything else needs to be done.”
For business owners, the timing of the power outage is especially challenging.
“We’re at peak season. We’re at the height. And, I’ve lost a whole lot of money. I’m sure I know everyone else has lost a whole lot of money too, but it’s a tough life around here,” said Martha Caldwell, who owns a convenience store on Hatteras Island. “People, you know, are real resilient and just get up and keep going.”