September 1, 2011 5:15 PM
Hatteras Island is still under a mandatory evacuation, but the situation improves as each day passes. Yesterday cell phone service was restored to most of the Island as well as regular phone lines and Internet. The fiber optic cables were run across the breach using kayaks and jet skis, and restored much hope for locals. Power has been established in all of the villages by means of generators. Several local restaurants have opened for business, the lines waiting for gas have ceased and mail services have resumed. Locals need this normalcy to stay sane.
On the flip side, everything that was green before the storm is now dead. If the wind didn’t kill it, the flood water did. Piles of debris, ruined furniture, appliances and shingles lay on the side of Hwy 12 and the smell of muck lingers where there is still sitting sound water. This water has filled many homes in the tri-villages including the Waves office, where tide lines show signs of up to 4’ of water.
The Ferry Division has set up a regular schedule running from Stumpy Point to Rodanthe and Hatteras. The ferries are currently only using this route to transport critical personnel, essential commodities (i.e. gas, food, mail) and people with special medical needs. The Red Cross has set up at the local fire houses and is providing meals for residents, Food Lion shipped in trucks containing free ice and water, and the CHEC has been working around the clock to restore power with massive generators.
All of our homes have been assessed by one of our staff members and emails were sent out yesterday to owners detailing them on the condition of their property. Our staff has literally been working around the clock checking on homes, trying to find phones to call owners, cleaning up debris and attempting to find answers and official information to provide to both homeowners and guests. Since we started the calls to owners our network has been sporatic, our servers touch and go and phone lines in and out, preventing anything from actually being accomplished.
Facebook, info account emails and live chat have been going crazy. There are not enough fingers to type fast enough to give the “we just don’t know” answers, which just haven’t sufficed for most visitors. We have 5 phone lines up and running off-Island taking calls from guests, non-stop. Amber Schierberg, one of our remote employees, worked through contractions the night before she was due, and was back up and running on live chat the next day after giving birth to a healthy baby boy!
Yesterday, officials announced that there would be no re-entry to visitors through labor day weekend. Today a group of emergency management members will meet to discuss setting official dates so that we may be better equipped to provide responses to these questions. This group includes John Hooper, previous county commissioner and board member of the EMC, Warren Judge, Chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners, Allen Burrus, Dare County Commissioner, Bobby Outten, the Dare County Manager, and Sandy Sanderson, the emergency management coordinator. So until we get official information we will contine to wait and see.
Right now our staff is appreciative for the cool north breeze, patient and understanding owners and guests, the assistance from all of the aid groups and goverment agencies, and the local community that always pulls together during rough times. Thank you to everyone for continuous support, prayers and understanding.