July 30, 2017

"This is like a dry hurricane for us — the aftermath of a hurricane without the destruction."

"About 70,000 tourists were ordered to leave Ocracoke and Hatteras islands after construction crews severed an underground transmission line, causing widespread blackouts" (WaPo).

43 comments:

Danno said...

I thought you were supposed to call before you dig. And these guys are professionals?

Humperdink said...

Yeah, they always yap about call before your dig. I have dug several times around my business. After the first time, they wanted to charge me to to check their line locations.

This situation is why they make lawyers.

tim maguire said...

"Ordered to leave"? What about the ones who don't mind? This is no crisis, on what authority do they order people to leave?

tcrosse said...

What's the point of a seaside vacation if the Wifi is out and there's no cell-phone signal ? Might as well stay home.

Birkel said...

Vacationers are ordered to leave. Residents can stay. The police are worried about criminal activity with unguarded private property (no alarms, no lights, etc).

This is perfectly acceptable.

JAORE said...

Yeah, just like a [dry] hurricane. Except for the buildings still standing, the roads still open and very little of that death thing.

FWIW,a group of friends rode the Outer Banks this year on our motorcycles. Really enjoyed Okracoke.

Fernandinande said...

"Ordered to leave"?

"North Carolina law ... An individual refusing to comply with a mandatory evacuation order, or any other restriction such as a curfew or limited access to a stricken area, imposed during a declared state of emergency can be charged with either a Class 2 misdemeanor[sic]."

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The power went out and this is a major disaster requiring evacuation? WTF?

No one is going to freeze to death. The worst is that their A/C isn't working and the tourists might get hot and sweaty. Not that there isn't an ocean that they can dip into. They may have to resort to eating chips and dip before the dip goes bad in the refrigerators.

If the police are worried about criminal activity...how about they actually, you know...police the area. Increase the coverage while the "crisis" exists.

BTW: In our area we now have zero police/sheriff coverage in the evening. None whatsoever. During the day we have about 4 deputies to cover an area that is about 100 miles by 100 miles. So....in essence we are on our own. Not that big of a change during the day but no coverage at all at night. Just us and our little shotguns, hand guns, rifles and dogs (in our case cats who aren't much protection). The Sheriffs had a big meeting to tell every one that if some homeless, druggies decide to squat on your land or live in an outbuilding it was too bad and they couldn't/wouldn't do anything about it. They suggested that we post no trespassing signs. Yeah. That'll stop em.

So...I have no sympathy for the people on the islands. At least they have the pretense of protection. Our guys aren't even pretending anymore.

Mark said...

no power means no water.

no one wants people shitting outside their rental property.

Was just down there a few weeks ago. That new bridge seemed lile a fiasco, even before the severed cable.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

no power means no water.

You can flush a toilet with a bucket of water. They are on an island surrounded by water. It will be inconvenient, but it can be done. It might even require some people to cooperate with each other....imagine!

Most public water districts, at least here in the Northern and mountainous part of my State have back up generators for those routine power outages that we experience.

no one wants people shitting outside their rental property.

This issue, I do understand. Evidently the tourists are too dumb to survive without electricity, so they should be evacuated to save the landlords from a shitty cleaning job. /facepalm

Fritz said...

Our water system has a propane powered automatic backup system.

Birkel said...

DBQ

When every second counts, the police are only minutes away. That is true in the best conditions.

How many 24 hour shifts must the police endure so vacationers can enjoy themselves? Who pays all the overtime?

David said...

I served as board chair of our local water and sewer utility in South Carolina and am still a board member. One of our biggest expenses is electricity. No electricity means no water and no sewer service. There are backup generators at crucial places but the entire system can not run on the backups. When Hurricane Matthew came through last fall, the first task was to get the power on again. The electric utility was prepared and did a good job, but it still took a while. Crews from other utilities all over the eastern half of the United States come to help. The local crews could not possibly handle the job alone.

The public loves to have the utilities bury electric transmission lines. Mostly for aesthetics but also because it is believed that underground lines are more secure. That is not necessarily true, especially in areas where flooding can be expected. But the biggest problem is that when the power goes out because of transmission line damage, underground lines are far more difficult to diagnose and repair. Difficulties with restoring underground transmission lines were among the primary reasons why power was out for weeks in many areas after Hurricane Katrina.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Dust Bunny Queen said...

You can flush a toilet with a bucket of water. They are on an island surrounded by water. It will be inconvenient, but it can be done. It might even require some people to cooperate with each other....imagine!

Most public water districts, at least here in the Northern and mountainous part of my State have back up generators for those routine power outages that we experience.


Except this isn't a routine power outage. Officials saying this could take weeks to fix. You expect tourist who have two week rentals to lug bucket after bucket of water up from the beach every day so they can flush toilets?

Also, no power means no refrigeration in hundreds of condo units. No where to keep food. There are no grocery stores, only a few general store type places. And even though most of them are equipped with generators I can't see them staying open more that a few days.

There's only one highway off the island and the only place to get back on the mainland from there is at Manteo and that's a 2 hour drive. The Oak Island ferry is a much shorter route, but then you're still an hour away from Morehead City which is what passes for civilization.

The banks are pretty remote at the best of times. That's why people vacation there. Stuff like this is a fact of life to the residents, but to tourists? No way.

Birkel said...

Does salt water have negative effects on some plumbing?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Stuff like this is a fact of life to the residents, but to tourists? No way.

I can understand that people who are used to having uninterrupted services provided at their fingertips can be confused, inconvenienced, scared and angry. However, shouldn't it be their (the tourist's) choice to stay or leave or the choice of the landlord to tell them to leave. If they do leave, and I wouldn't blame them, then it would be up to the landlord/hotel etc to come to some sort of financial arrangement or reimbursement of rent. Now that the government has stepped in, I imagine that there will be insurance companies involved and the landlords are off the hook.

If there is actual danger, then of course the area should be evacuated. However, if there is actual danger, why not evacuate everyone?

Some tourists might consider the power outage a memorable challenge and the source of a good story to tell in the future. Just think of the muscles you will develop lugging buckets of water. Why it could be a good thing in the long run :-D

the only place to get back on the mainland from there is at Manteo and that's a 2 hour drive.

Maybe it is an East Coast vs West thing??....but a 2 hour drive is a nothing drive. Not a big deal.

Birkel said...

What gas stations do you proposed they use, DBQ? With which credit cards will they pay?

Birkel said...

Remember, that is a two hour drive WITHOUT everybody trying to leave all at once.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

What gas stations do you proposed they use, DBQ? With which credit cards will they pay?

Man, you people back East must be helpless.

Does the power never go out? Do you never have snowstorms that block the roads? How can you survive?

Here: Gas stations have generators and the times you can get gas are posted and limited. The power goes out all the time which is why you always keep your car and truck tanks full. Same thing for the small grocery stores. Generators to keep the cold and frozen food for a while and limited shopping hours cut down on the use of generated electricity.

Since most of the people here have wells and do not have access to a public water source, when the power goes out they don't have water, unless they have a generator to pump the wll for a short period of time. If it looks like a bad storm or a wild fire might interrupt power.... and you have time to prepare (you don't always have time so be prepared), then you fill the bathtubs, barrels and other containers with water. Many people have 5000 gallon water storage tanks as well. I don't expect people in a city to be as prepared.

Paying for your goods: You can do the old fashioned swipe the card technique Now you have the card impression and a signature. Since the phone lines are not affected by an electrical outage, the merchant can make arrangements with their bank to rapidly get the slips entered into their systems. The merchant will have to absorb the risk that the funds are available, or insist on cash. Some people, very few anymore, have check books. Write a check.

Cell phones will still work. Many businesses can accept cards via their phones.

What about all this fabulous solar power we are supposed to be transitioning to? No one has back up solar or the availability to charge up their phone?

The biggest problem in an extended outage, in our area, is that delivery of necessary supplies (gasoline, diesel, food) to the merchants can be interrupted. Which is why we have a pump house full of food and other supplies.

As to everyone leaving at once, that seems to be a Police/Government problem since they have demanded that everyone leave. Traffic control and one way use of all lanes. Transportation for those who have vehicle difficulties should be provided by the Gubbmnit. They made this problem.

When the Zombie Apocalypses arrives, you guys are going to be majorly screwed.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Maybe it is an East Coast vs West thing??....but a 2 hour drive is a nothing drive. Not a big deal.

Sorry, didn't mention that it's a 2 hour drive on a two lane state highway that's notorious for becoming a parking lot every Sunday when half the vacationers all try to get off the island at once.

2 hour drives to anywhere out West usually mean a good deal of Interstate driving. At least that's my experience from living in Arizona for the past decade.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ North

Good point about the interstates versus two lane state highways.

We live in a mountainous area of the State and all we have are two lane winding roads. We did see something of the effect you mention when, a few years back, I-5 southbound traffic was diverted onto the highway running through our area for a day. The traffic back up was horrible and the poor people trying to go South were so frustrated for having to drive so slowly.

A few ranchers put up signs and offered some of their fallow fields for the RV traffic so they could just get off the road. The folks who had RVs just pulled over and called it quits for a day or so.

Birkel said...

Of course, I made the same point and DBQ just wandered off making Easy Coast claims.

Of course, one of us is discussing what is and not some ideal version of what should.

Of course.

George M. Spencer said...

The evaluation order benefits property owners (and rental companies), and it keeps tourists safe.

No electricity, no water--God forbid you have a medical problem on Ocracoke in the best of times....It's a 2.5 hour ferry trip to the mainland. They use helicopters to get people off in medical crises

George M. Spencer said...

Plus, real fun vacation with a houseful of kids...and no AC...no TV, no games...no dining out.

Birkel said...

Cell phones might work.
Damned electrical outages might take a cell tower or two down.
Funny that way.

Not to mention jammed lines as everybody attempts calls all at once.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Plus, real fun vacation with a houseful of kids...and no AC...no TV, no games...no dining out.

Hah....we call that camping, except without the house.
:-D

Birkel said...

Do you camp where looters might be?
You cannot imagine the differences?

cyrus83 said...

The Outer Banks are quite far from any major expressway, and from as far down as Hatteras Island, it's a nearly 3-hour journey back to the nearest Interstate connection in Norfolk and that's assuming the traffic isn't completely backed up on the mostly 2-lane highways that lead back that way.

The evacuation makes sense given the remoteness of the location - if the power's going to be out for days or weeks, it makes no sense to keep around tourists who aren't prepared to deal with that situation and would require considerable additional food and water supplies to be shipped in.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Do you camp where looters might be?
You cannot imagine the differences?


Not looters. But close

Now that the medical marijuana growers can legally grow, some of that activity has turned to marginal farm and ranch lands, if they can get water.

Of course there is always this fun group to contend with

As I already pointed out, we are totally on our own here for protection from looters, robbers, squatters, vandals and other criminals. I CAN imagine.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

FWIW, the off season population of both islands is approx. 5000.

Map if anyone's interested.

southcentralpa said...

Well, at least those affected got the experience of eating off the Waffle House "limited menu" ... (a dubious, mixed-blessing sort of experience, but something they can tell their friends in addition to all the "Dear God, I met Trump voters" stories)

Birkel said...

You can imagine being in the middle of nowhere protecting yourself. Now imagine being surrounded by people some of whom intend you harm but are indistinguishable from the ones who don't.

Answer: lawfully order those who do not live there to leave.

tim maguire said...

Birkel, you have quite the active imagination placed in service of easy access to martial law.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Answer: lawfully order those who do not live there to leave.

You mean like, evict the homeless from squatting on our land, deciding to live in our barns and outbuildings, hanging around businesses doorways, begging for money, stealing stuff from our garages and cars, breaking into houses, camping out and crapping in the parks, wandering around drunk, high on drugs and babbling? Like that?

Like the ones the Sheriff just told us they wouldn't do anything about? That it was OUR responsibility to report and put up some warning signs, but that they didn't have the time or desire to take care of these problems?

Good IDEA. I'm for it. Except our "Law" doesn't want to act lawfully. Hmmmm....what other recourse do we have, I wonder.

Birkel said...

tim maguire

This is well within the powers granted by the law. Do you deny this power under the law? Do you deny the property owners want this type of lawful order?

Birkel said...

Perhaps you should hire law enforcement like the ones in NC, self-sufficient DBQ.

YoungHegelian said...

For those who do not live in the Mid-Atlantic area, you have no idea how seriously folks around here take the "Summer Beach Vacation". You also cannot believe how much it costs.

Every summer for the past 15 years or so, my wife & I have gathered up a motley crew of nieces & nephews & trundled down to Virginia Beach for a few days. Once, we had seven of them at the same time! This year it's down to two.

I booked the beach side rooms some time ago, so no problem there. But, I needed a room for our late arrival on Saturday somewhere not on the beach, but much cheaper, like in eastern Norfolk or Chesapeake. As I was checking rates, I saw the last minute beach rates! Holy shit!

Keep in mind, VA Beach is not hoity-toity. It's a family-centered, mid-price beach resort. Last minute weekend rates were $350 to $650 per room, for standard Days Inn & Marriot hotels! If you could find a room at all!

So, expect these tourist families who just lost their long-planned vacations to sue. Not only were their vacations dashed, but they are now probably out several thousand dollars per family, & there is no where in driving range on the Mid-Atlantic coast that they can go with their precious vacation time.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

So, expect these tourist families who just lost their long-planned vacations to sue. Not only were their vacations dashed, but they are now probably out several thousand dollars per family, & there is no where in driving range on the Mid-Atlantic coast that they can go with their precious vacation time.

Who can they sue? The government? Do you think they will have a case? I don't think they can sue the landlords or hotels because they were not responsible for the cancellations.

It seems that if these vacations are so very expensive they might buy trip insurance. Although I don't know if something of this instance would be covered.

YoungHegelian said...

@DBQ,

They can sue the company/bonding company of whomever was doing the work with the back hoe that shredded the power line. Those jobs are almost always contracted out by the state/local governments. That's why they are "bonded".

Now, would a suit like this go anywhere? Is it worth suing for less than $10k, which definitely in the damages range of what most families' vacations cost? The answer is probably not.

But, was it rank incompetence & stupidity for the construction crew to dig up & destroy a major power line? You Betcha! Somebody or somebodies need to be taken out & sold as fish bait over this.

Jim at said...

"The Sheriffs had a big meeting to tell every one that if some homeless, druggies decide to squat on your land or live in an outbuilding it was too bad and they couldn't/wouldn't do anything about it."

Then these same 'law enforcement' types won't do anything about a property remedy to squatters, correct?

S, S and S.

Next.

The Godfather said...

I live in NC now, inland, so this isn't my issue, but for 5 years I lived in coastal south Florida. All the beaches in Florida (at least the east coast) are on barrier islands, as in NC. When hurricanes threatened, the authorities ordered the residents (including tourists) of the barrier islands to evacuate. Many stayed put. I don't think there were any arrests, but the bridges to the mainland were all raised and left up, so if you stayed, you were stuck. I think they were a bit more agressive in enforcing evacuation orders in the Keys. If you've never lived someplace about 1 ft above mean high water and there's a storm coming, or the power is out, you might want to think twice about telling folks what they ought to do. Just sayin'.

Danno said...

Dust Bunny Queen, it appears you live close to where Victor Davis Hanson has his longstanding family farm. I've read his horror stories.