Some areas of the North Carolina’s Outer Banks are now being powered by generators and digging crews have now reached the damaged underground power line so it can be examined, officials announced Saturday afternoon after thousands of tourists were forced to evacuate.
Tideland EMC announced Saturday afternoon that “all circuits are energized” on Ocracoke Island via three emergency mobile generators that arrived on the island Thursday and Friday, CBS affiliate WNCN reports.
A “steady stream” of tourists left a North Carolina island Saturday underprompted by a widespread power outage, wiping out a significant chunk of the lucrative summer months for local businesses.
It could take days or weeks to repair an underground transmission line damaged early Thursday by construction crews working on a new bridge between islands. The construction company drove a steel casing into an underground transmission line, causing blackouts on Ocracoke and Hatteras islands.
Cars lined up Friday to get on ferries, the only way off Ocracoke Island, after about 10,000 tourists were ordered Thursday evening to evacuate. A second order for visitors to Hatteras Island, south of Oregon Inlet, meant up to 60,000 additional people had to evacuate starting Saturday, primarily north over the inlet bridge.
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 called local officials to pledge state help.
“We’ll do all we can to get repairs moving,” he said in a release.
Excavation at the site revealed Saturday that one of three underground transmission cables that supply the islands’ power is missing a 2-foot section. A timetable for repairs won’t be known until crews determine whether either of the other cables, still buried as of Saturday afternoon, was damaged, according to Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative.
Dare County spokeswoman Dorothy Hester had no estimate for how many people still…