After a full day of evacuating tourists from Ocracoke Island, emergency management officials issued a mandatory evacuation for all visitors to Hatteras Island on Friday night.
The evacuation, caused by a loss of power on the islands, is effective at 6 a.m. on Saturday, July 29. The order includes Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras.
Emergency workers, residents and property owners will be allowed on the island with proper credentials.
The order does not include any areas north of Oregon Inlet.
The decision was made to evacuate Hatteras because of the growing uncertainty over how long it will take to repair the main transmission line and restore full power to the island, according to the order for the Dare County Department of Emergency Management.
No timeline was given for when services might be restored.
The lights went out on the Outer Banks destinations when crews from PCL Construction, the contractor for the Bonner Bridge project, reportedly drove a steel casing into the underground transmission cable that runs from the south end of the bridge to the first riser pole on Hatteras Island about 4:30 a.m. Thursday.
Once it became apparent that the power would not be easily restored, evacuations started with ferries transporting residents off Ocracoke to Hatteras Island, Cedar Island and Swan Quarter. While tourists were leaving, crews were bringing in portable generators to provide intermittent power to the area and rolling blackouts were expected.
Residents were being asked to use power conservatively when the generators were operating. Mandatory water restrictions are also in place.
The mandatory evacuation of Hatteras Island has a silver lining for some tourists. If they purchased trip insurance, they may be entitled to a refund of some of their reservation money. Most policies cover mandatory evacuations. Until the mandatory evacuation was put in place, those who chose to cut short their vacation because of the conditions would not have been reimbursed under most policies.
Note: This article has been changed to correct the destination of one of the ferries. The ferry goes to Cedar Island not Cedar Point.