Hatteras, Ocracoke Closed Until Further Notice

Hatteras and Ocracoke islands unexpectedly shut down for business Thursday after power went out to everyone at 4:30 a.m.

Construction on the Bonner Bridge appears to have been the cause when a steel casing was driven into the electrical cable.

I guess someone forgot to call Miss Utility.

Damage depends on whether the cable was merely “nicked,” or if it was severed, something the experts will determine over the next few days. Depending on the findings, repairs could take anywhere from a few days to weeks.

Not good for the Outer Banks in July, the height of summer vacation season. Scrolling through Facebook, I saw where folks I knew had been part of this week’s mandatory evacuation and had their vacations cut short by two or three days.

A family I know, good friends from the Valley, are supposed to head to their favorite spot on Hatteras Sunday for their annual family renewal on the sands of the Atlantic. Since their grown children are scattered from New York City down the East Coast and out in two western states, this week of play is a tradition that began while the kids were young. It continues as an opportunity to draw them from their current locations back to the familiar salt water and sea air for R&R and a family reunion all rolled into one on North Carolina’s sandy beaches.

But not this year.

And while it’s sad to think of all the eagerly anticipated vacations that are being disrupted, I was brought back to reality by a high school friend who works as a home health and hospice RN and lives on the unaffected northern end of the Outer Banks around Kill Devil Hills.

“My poor patients on Hatteras,” she wrote. “These are strong people and they will survive cause that is what they do. PS Vacationers can buy insurance and revisit.”

Indeed, there are thousands who make Hatteras and Ocracoke their permanent homes so, instead of a one-week inconvenience, they face an unknown amount of time without electricity in their day-to-day lives.

There are surely to be permanents who earn their livelihood from the tourism industry who are now unemployed because those restaurants, rental homes, hotels, fishing businesses are closed.

Some restaurants that fired up their generators found themselves ready to serve but missing customers who had been forced to leave.

But perhaps saddest of all are the permanent residents dealing with illness who have now found their lives further complicated.

Let’s hope that cable is merely nicked.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
Cross-posted at Bearing Drift

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