- Associated Press - Friday, July 28, 2017

BUXTON, N.C. (AP) - The Latest on power loss on two North Carolina islands (all times local):

8:25 p.m.

Emergency management officials have issued a mandatory evacuation order for Hatteras Island visitors because of a widespread power outage that has already prompted thousands of tourists to leave Hatteras and neighboring Ocracroke Island on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

The Dare County Department of Emergency Management said in a statement Friday that the evacuation order is mandatory for all visiting Hatteras Island effective at 6 a.m. Saturday. It includes the island villages of Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras.

Officials say they took that step as a safety precaution and because of growing uncertainty as to when repairs to a major transmission line would be complete. The statement says properly credentialed residents and non-resident property owners, along with essential personal and some others, would be allowed to remain. The evacuation order doesn’t include any areas north of Oregon Inlet on the Outer Banks.

The county’s emergency management department says it’s continuing to work with utility officials to restore power to levels that would allow visitors to eventually return.

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5:30 p.m.

North Carolina’s ferry system is helping bring temporary electricity to the two islands hit by a power outage.

The state Department of Transportation said Friday that two 90,000-pound generators have been loaded onto a ferry bound for Ocracoke Island. The goal is to restore temporary power to much of the island by Friday evening.

Ocracoke and Hatteras Islands went dark on Thursday when a construction company building a new bridge between two islands drove a steel casing into an underground transmission line.

The state has scheduled regular fuel deliveries for the generators on daily ferry departures. Passengers and vehicles will also be allowed on those ferries, but space will be limited.

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3:40 p.m.

A high school science teacher will remember her first trip to a North Carolina island.

Heather Earp and a group of teachers were attending a conference at Ocracoke Island when the power went out. She said the center had a generator to keep the conference going, although the individual guest rooms were without air conditioning.

Ocracoke and Hatteras Islands went dark on Thursday when a construction company building a new bridge drove a steel casing into an underground transmission line.

Earp planned ahead for her departure, which was hastened by a mandatory evacuation order. She said she parked at the ferry dock on Thursday night, and that enabled her to catch the 7:30 a.m. ferry to return to the mainland.

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3:20 p.m.

A restaurant owner on the Outer Banks says local businesses are losing a significant chunk of their livelihoods to a power outage.

Jason Wells owns Jason’s Restaurant on Ocracoke Island. He says his restaurant is closed by the outage at a time when it normally makes more than $5,000 a day in sales. He employs about 25 people at this time of year.

He said many businesses are closed for as many as five months a year, so the summer months are crucial.

Aside from lost sales, he estimated his business could lose another $5,000 in food that’s in his freezer right now - including $2,500 in flounder alone. He said that generators being brought on the island could save that food, but that wouldn’t provide enough power to reopen.

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2:45 p.m.

A Virginia man forced to leave a North Carolina island because of a widespread power outage was more concerned about business owners than his own vacation plans.

Stacy Huggins was using Ocracoke Island as a base as he and his wife traveled up and down the coast. The power outage, combined with a mandatory evacuation order for visitors, meant they had to leave on Friday and head home to Richmond, Virginia.

Huggins said the power outage would make it hard on the local economy. He said businesses create a nice experience for visitors, and that the impact of the outage will be devastating for the next few weeks.

Ocracoke and Hatteras Islands went dark on Thursday when a construction company building a new bridge between two islands drove a steel casing into an underground transmission line.

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12 p.m.

The owner of Howard’s Pub on Ocracoke Island says she has generator power, but business is dropping as tourists stream off the island.

Owner Ann Warner was watching a long line of cars waiting to board a ferry off the island from her restaurant that would normally be packed for Friday lunch.

Warner has talked to other business owners who are upset to be losing business at the peak of tourism season to a human error, as opposed to tropical weather such as a hurricane.

Ocracoke and Hatteras Islands went dark on Thursday when a construction company building a new bridge between two islands drove a steel casing into an underground transmission line.

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10:55 a.m.

The construction company that acknowledged cutting an electric transmission cable that provides power to two North Carolina islands is digging at the site to determine the extent of the damage.

PCL Construction, which is building a new bridge between the Outer Banks and the mainland, said it accidently drove a steel casing into the underground transmission cable on the south side of Oregon Inlet on Thursday.

Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative said its crews worked through the night to provide intermittent power from a nearby diesel generating plant and two portable generators. Officials said the portable generators struggled to carry the load on the circuits, and people are being asked to minimize usage.

The cooperative said additional portable generators arrived on the island Friday morning, with more on the way.

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10:45 a.m.

Tourists are streaming off a North Carolina barrier island that can only be reached by boat after a construction accident more than 70 miles away cut off all electricity.

Leslie Lanier owns a book store on Ocracoke Island, and she said by Friday morning most of the vacation destination’s thousands of visitors had left.

Lanier says the island’s 1,000 or so year-round residents are seeing their economy in free-fall. She says businesses like hers that depend on summer tourists are shutting down and workers aren’t going to be paid during the days or weeks that power it out.

Lanier says Friday will be the first day since tourist season ramped up last month that she won’t be at her book store.

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10:45 a.m.

Ocracoke Island resident Rob Temple has arrived at a ferry terminal to a long line of cars waiting to leave. He was taking his daughter to a movie in nearby Nags Head but planned to return afterward to his house where the power is out.

Temple said Friday they had arrived hoping to take an 8:30 a.m. ferry, but the crowd waiting to board pushed their departure an hour later.

Temple owns two sailboats he uses to take people on cruises in the sound. He said a large group was booked for Thursday but dwindled to a handful of people after most tourists left the island. He says businesses are used to dealing with disruptions that typically come from storms.

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10:30 a.m.

There aren’t a lot of restaurant choices along the parts of North Carolina’s Outer Banks affected by the power outage because of a line cut by a construction crew.

Coleen Gauker at the Island Convenience Store in Rodanthe says people are asking for something cold. Gauker told The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk there are no cold options.

But she says employees are coming up with sausage biscuits and such, using flashlights and a gas-powered stove.

Aaron Howe says the store is the only place for people to get something to eat.

Howe said an ice shipment Thursday sold out in 20 minutes.

He did say the problems are not as bad as a hurricane.

It is cash only, since there’s no power for the registers or to handle charge cards.

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8:15 a.m.

A state of emergency has been issued for two islands on North Carolina’s Outer Banks after a construction company cut an electrical line.

Gov. Roy Cooper signed the declaration for Hatteras and Ocracoke islands Thursday night.

Cooper says the declaration removes restrictions on weight and the hours of service for fuel, utility and other truck drivers that may be working to deliver supplies and other resources needed to restore power.

Crews were working to determine how severe the damage was when a construction crew working on a new bridge cut the power line to the islands Thursday morning. It could take several days or several weeks to repair.

Hyde County officials issued mandatory evacuation orders for Ocracoke Island. Officials hope all visitors will be off the island by noon Friday.

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3:10 a.m.

An estimated 10,000 tourists have been ordered to evacuate an island on North Carolina’s Outer Banks after a construction company caused a power outage, leaving people stranded without air conditioning or places to eat.

The evacuation order issued for visitors to Ocracoke Island in Hyde County went into effect at 5 p.m. Thursday. Officials say no one will be allowed onto the island unless they can prove residency.

Hyde County public information officer Donnie Shumate says there are some 10,000 visitors on the island. He said the main concern was for their safety, adding that officials want to get visitors off the island by noon Friday. The outage comes during peak tourist season, which runs from mid-June through Labor Day.

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Corrects items to show that bridge being built is between two islands, not the Outer Banks and the mainland.

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