As repair crews work furiously to restore power to Ocracoke and Hatteras islands, the gravity of a prolonged outage at the height of the tourist season appears to be deepening.
The first lawsuit was filed by a Salisbury law firm. Gov. Roy Cooper flew in for a tour. And businesses fretted over a mounting loss of income after a construction severed power cables last week. “A midsummer disaster,” the Outer Banks Sentinel called it. Many businesses earn in a single summer week what they take in for a month in winter.
Some parts of Hatteras Island, powered by portable generators, are returning to normal, news reports say. But other parts of Hatteras and Ocracoke might not be fully powered up for another week or two.
“It’s been extremely stressful, and I just want to cry,” Courtney Martinez, a Williamsburg resident who had planned to get married this Saturday on Ocracoke, told the Outer Banks Voice. The wedding party instead rented a large house in Kill Devil Hills, but still hadn’t found enough rooms for all attendees. The catered reception will instead be a cookout.
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Social media this week is a mixture of regret and deal-with-it whimsy.
Would-be vacationers worried.
Lawyers trolled for clients.
And some islanders simply rolled with it.
“It’s devastating,” Dare County commissioners’ Chairman Bob Woodard told the Outer Banks Sentinel Monday after meeting with Cooper. “It could not have happened at a worse time.”
Ocracoke Island’s permanent generator was damaged when officials tried to start it Thursday, when the blackout began, but residents are getting power from three emergency mobile generators, the Ocracoke Observer reported.
The U.S. Coast Guard is patrolling Silver Lake Harbor and the National Park Service is monitoring docks to make sure no unauthorized visitors return to the island after its mandatory evacuation, the news site said.