Crews: 2 approaches to restore North Carolina islands' power

One of the cables that were cut

A sign in Moyock, N.C., warns travelers that access to Hatteras and Ocracoke islands is restricted to residents only on Saturday.

An estimated 10,000 tourists face a noon deadline Friday for evacuating the island on North Carolina's Outer Banks after a construction company caused a power outage, leaving people searching for a place to eat, stay cool or to resume interrupted vacations.

"We'd been thinking about this for six months, the kids were so excited", Crossley said.

If people use too much power, that can trip up those generators, which is why officials are urging people to conserve as much as possible. As of Monday evening, one of the cables had been spliced back together and CHEC was working to build a new overhead transmission line that will run from the south end of Bonner Bridge to meet an existing overhead transmission line. That's the company building the new Bonner Bridge. Most were able to drive off Hatteras Island, which is served by the only major bridge to the islands, while the rest have slowly made their way off Ocracoke by ferry.

As of 2 p.m. Saturday, North Carolina ferries had evacuated about 3,800 people and 1,500 cars from both islands, according to Gov. Roy Cooper's office. Cooper said he would speak to state Attorney General Josh Stein about whether there was anything that could be done for those visitors. "We'll get through it like we always do".

The Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative is now working on two solutions to fix the lines, and according to the governor, one of the two damaged cables has already been fixed. "They're packing up and moving out", Dorothy Hester, a spokeswoman for Dare County, told NBC affiliate WITN of Washington. "We are seasonal people, we don't work year-round". They brought a lot of stuff here.

The evacuations come after a contractor hit a line carrying electricity to the islands from mainland Dare County this week. "While disappointed, they're going to make their way home".

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About 9,000 customers were without power on the two islands.

"June to August represents about 70 percent of our annual business, so you can imagine that taking out a week or two could be devastating", said Lee Nettles, executive director of the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau.

Emergency generators were brought in, but they were meant to power only necessities such as refrigerators and fans. "We are losing money day by day". "We lost probably $50,000 from just that one weekend alone", said Caleb Lewis of the Frisco Woods Campground on the Cape Hatteras seashore.

As of Saturday afternoon, tourists were still shopping at the store, which has kept regular hours thanks to its two large generators. Speaking to reporters midday, he said PCL Construction needed to be held responsible for the damage it caused, but what that might look like in terms of financial penalties or other action has yet to be determined.

"As they drove that casing down into the ground, they heard a pop", she said.

Thursday, Cooper declared a state of emergency, the same day that Hyde County issued its evacuation order for tourists on Ocracoke Island.



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