Ocracoke Island

Larry Lamb / www.flickr.com/photos/49708076@N05/9807199176/

Authorities have ordered the evacuation of Ocracoke Island this weekend in advance of Hurricane Isaias.

Ben Finley / AP Photo

When Hurricane Dorian pounded the wisp of earth that is Ocracoke Island, a wall of Atlantic seawater flooded Bob Chestnut’s home, surf shop and four vehicles.

A massive pile of debris sits outside of town on Ocracoke Island as cleanup efforts continue a month after Hurricane Dorian. All of the waste must be collected and then loaded into trucks before being transported off the island by boat.
Madeline Gray / For WUNC

As the year comes to a close, we take a look at some of the photos that helped tell the story of 2019. From hurricanes to controversy over confederate monuments and a deadly gas explosion, here are the moments – big and small – that shaped the year in North Carolina news.

Producer Laura Pellicer in a field in Harnett County
Courtesy Sandra Davidson

 

 

In 2019, The State of Things met musical visionaries, people fighting to save endangered cultures, and folks who supported their neighbors through another devastating hurricane. The individuals and stories at the heart of those conversations stuck with State of Things producer Laura Pellicer throughout the year.

Volunteers with Samaritan's Purse work on cleaning out a house in an area of Ocracoke Island that was heavily flooded during Hurricane Dorian.
Madeline Gray / For WUNC

 

Visitors are now allowed back on Ocracoke Island nearly three months after record flooding from Hurricane Dorian. The September storm produced flash flooding that saw water rise several feet in less than an hour. The flooding broke modern records and damaged hundreds of structures on the island. Authorities reopened the island to tourists this week. 

A pile of rubble behind a sign for cottage rentals
Connie Leinbach / Ocracoke Observer

Nearly 10 weeks after Hurricane Dorian struck North Carolina’s coast, Ocracoke Island is still under an evacuation order blocking visitors and tourism. On Monday, Nov. 11, the Hyde County Board of Commissioners agreed to allow visitors starting Nov. 22, which is the same day the island’s main road is expected to reopen. 

A massive pile of debris sits outside of town on Ocracoke Island as cleanup efforts continue a month after Hurricane Dorian. All of the waste must be collected and then loaded into trucks before being transported off the island by boat.
Madeline Gray / For WUNC

County commissioners on the North Carolina coast have moved to reopen an island ravaged by Hurricane Dorian.

A sign sits along Irvin Garrish Highway a month after Hurricane Dorian hit the island.
Madeline Gray / For WUNC

Class is back in session on a North Carolina island which was severely damaged by Hurricane Dorian.

Philip Howard sits in his house which was built in 1865 and which he renovated to historic standards in 2005.
Madeline Gray / For WUNC

Philip Howard is sitting in the living room of his 1860s-era Ocracoke house, tucked along a street that bears his family name.

Under his feet is a massive Oriental rug that once belonged to his mother. She worked long hours to save up for it. When Hurricane Dorian hit four weeks ago and the water rose, it looked like the rug was a goner.

Sign on a tree that reads 'Ocracoke is greater then Dorian, we got this!'
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

A month after many North Carolinians witnessed little to no damage from Hurricane Dorian, one of North Carolina’s barrier islands is still desperate for help.

A flooded street on Ocracoke Island.
CREDIT NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE / MOREHEAD CITY

The Outer Banks is bracing for a long recovery after Hurricane Dorian.

NWS Newport/Morehead City

Hurricane Dorian continues to move up the Atlantic coast, and while many areas were spared, it has created dangerous flooding conditions on North Carolina’s barrier islands. Flash flooding sent quickly rising waters into homes on Ocracoke Island this morning and hundreds of people may still be trapped. Gov. Roy Cooper said this morning in a briefing that communication is  limited and rescuers will have a difficult time reaching the island.

The sign of the Ocracoke Health Center.
Erin O'Neal

Ocracoke Health Center CEO Cheryl Ballance estimates that anywhere from 8,000-10,000 people visit Ocracoke Island on any given summer weekend. Many visitors catch a ferry back to Cape Hatteras after less than a day, but hundreds of vacation rentals and hotel rooms are consistently filled from late spring to early fall. During those months, the staff of the tiny clinic are stretched to their limits.

NCDOT

Long-awaited passenger-only ferry service between two popular North Carolina Outer Banks destinations is finally sailing.

A year after a construction crew accidentally cut power to the Outer Banks, Ocracoke is taking advantage of cheaper solar panels and batteries to make its own energy right on the tiny island. 

Jean Leon Gerome / Public Domain

Blackbeard’s stolen vessel, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, ran aground off the North Carolina coastline three hundred years ago this summer.

File photo of a lone car waiting to be loaded on a ferry to Ocracoke Island in Hatteras, N.C., Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016. An evacuation is underway on Ocracoke Island on North Carolina's Outer Banks as Hurricane Maria moves north.
Ben Finley / AP

Updated 2:25 p.m., Sept. 26

Storm surge from Hurricane Maria is flooding some parts of the Outer Banks. Forecasters are watching waters rise in the southern Pamlico Sound and the Outer Banks as the storm's outer bands sweep across the North Carolina coast. 

Crews continued to work on the Bonner Bridge project.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Local governments on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands say they want to come to an agreement on reimbursements for a recent power outage without going to court.  

No surf boards were rented from Jason Heilig's Rodanthe Surf Shop. On a typical July day, Heilig would hope to see that cart totally empty.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Carloads of tourists rolled in, stores stocked seafood counters and kitchen workers chopped vegetables Friday as two North Carolina islands reopened to visitors after a weeklong power outage at the height of vacation season.

Crews worked to reconnect power cables.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Power has been restored to Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands. Utility crews with Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative and its contractors completed work earlier Thursday afternoon.

NASA images captured the power outages along Ocracoke and Hatteras Islands last week.
NASA Earth Observatory

A NASA satellite captured nighttime images of two popular Outer Banks barrier islands that have been without power for nearly a week.

Crews worked to reconnect power cables.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Power should be fully restored on all of North Carolina's Outer Banks in less than a week, officials said late Tuesday.

Crews working at the site of the damaged transmission line
Courtesy of the NC Dot

UPDATE: Officials now estimate between six and 10 days for power to be fully restored for Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands.

Governor Roy Cooper ordered a mandatory evacuation of tourists on the islands after a contractor sliced through a line carrying electricity from mainland Dare County late last week. The islands are now running on alternative backup generators, but residents are being advised to reduce their electricity consumption. 

Crews continued to work on the Bonner Bridge project.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Lawsuits are pending against a construction company blamed for a power outage on North Carolina's Outer Banks, forcing visitors off the beaches and leaving tourist-dependent businesses without income.

Jason Heilig stands in the doorway of Rodanthe Surf Shop on Hatteras Island, which he owns. He normally counts on the busy season for a big chunk of annual revenue.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Jason Heilig stood in the doorway of Rodanthe Surf Shop on Hatteras Island on Monday.

No customers picked through the board shorts or tried on sunglasses. The trailer of surfboard rentals sat filled to the top. For a normal midday in late July, Heilig would like to see those reversed: an empty trailer and full shop.

Oregon Inlet
Courtesy of the NC DOT

The latest on efforts to restore electricity to a portion of North Carolina's Outer Banks evacuated of tourists after a construction accident cut power lines (all times local).

Crews continued to work on the Bonner Bridge project.
Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative

Construction crews have determined that all three transmission cables providing power to Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands have been compromised, but portable generators may allow visitors to return soon. 

The Ocracoke Lighthouse in Hyde County was built almost 200 years ago. It's a popular destination for visitors of the island and remains one of the oldest operating lighthouses in the United States.
Jeff Tiberii

Along the North Carolina coast, Hyde County remained under a state of emergency Monday evening with rain expected to continue through the night.

Hazelnut, newest member of the herd of ponies on Ocracoke, NC. Born born on February 4, 2015 at approximately 10:00 a.m.
National Park Service

Say hello to Hazelnut! She was born mid-morning a couple of days ago into the celebrated Ocracoke pony herd.

Hazelnut's father is a direct descendant of the original Ocracoke ponies. The mother joined the herd in 2010.

The ponies are an important part of the region's history. Legend has it that the “Banker” horses survived being thrown overboard by European ships carrying livestock to the New World in the 16th or 17th century.

NCDOT

A new, longer ferry route between Hatteras and Ocracoke Island on the Outer Banks is now permanent. 

Officials from the U.S. Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers and the North Carolina Department of Transportation made the announcement Monday. 

Tim Hass of the state Ferry Division says the original shorter route continues to be a problem.

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