Published On: Mon, Jul 31st, 2017

Outer Banks Evacuated After Major Power Outage


PHOTO: Thousands of visitors to Ocracoke Island and Hatteras Island were forced to head home early. (photo via Flickr/Road Travel America)

As many as 70,000 tourists have evacuated North Carolina’s Outer Banks in wake of a severe power outage.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued mandatory evacuation orders for vacationers on Ocracoke and Hatteras islands over the weekend after a construction company working on a new bridge accidentally damaged a transmission line providing electricity to the islands.

“Due to life safety issues from the loss of reliable electrical power on Hatteras Island and growing uncertainty as to when repairs to the main transmission line will be completed to enable restoration of full power to the island, a mandatory evacuation has been issued for all visitors to Hatteras Island, effective at 6 a.m. on Saturday, July 29,” the order stated.  

“This evacuation order includes the villages of Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras.”

The Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative confirmed one cable was completely severed and two others were compromised. Officials are eying two potential solutions to the outage, but don’t expect to have power fully restored for at least one to two weeks.

In the meantime, generators are being used to provide temporary power to residents.

“We realize people are disappointed. They brought a lot of stuff here. They’re packing up and moving out,” Dare County spokeswoman Dorothy Hester told WITN. “While disappointed, they’re going to make their way home.”

The major outage is being likened to a hurricane.

“All of our rooms are empty,” Lisa Sturgill, general manager of the Cape Hatteras Motel, told WRAL. “But it’s just another storm. We’ll get through it like we always do.”

READ MORE: New Island Appears Off North Carolina Coast

The outage couldn’t have come at a worse time for the popular vacation destinations, which are currently in the midst of peak summer season.

Buxton supermarket manager Angela Conner Tawes said “losing time in August is a big deal.”

According to WITN, vacation rentals account for approximately 80 percent of the islands’ tourism. Ocracoke Island restaurant owner Jason Wells estimates hotels, shops and restaurants on the island will lose out on as much as $100,000 per day as a result of the outage.


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