Gen­er­a­tors, wa­ter and crews head to stranded is­lan­ders

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - News - BY MARTHA QUILLIN [email protected]­sob­server.com

Gen­er­a­tors, fuel, drinking wa­ter and help­ing hands were sail­ing to­ward the stranded res­i­dents of Ocracoke on Satur­day morn­ing as the N.C De­part­ment of Transporta­tion re­launched ferry ser­vice to the is­land.

The first ferry out of the dock car­ried emer­gency med­i­cal work­ers and other aid as ferry of­fi­cials ran the route to make sure Hurricane Dorian had not left big debris or de­posited deep sand in the nav­i­ga­tional chan­nel.

Once the way was clear, Mo­tor Ves­sel Swan Quar­ter was given the go-ahead to load its cargo: a con­voy of dozens of trucks car­ry­ing the peo­ple and equip­ment that can help get the is­land back to some level of nor­malcy.

Ocracoke was the site of some of the worst flood­ing that hap­pened as a re­sult of Hurricane Dorian’s brush along the North Carolina coast.

The storm’s winds first swept the wa­ter out of Pam­lico Sound, on the back side of the is­land, and then brought the wa­ter rush­ing back, flood­ing the is­land and the Vil­lage of Ocracoke to depths even long­time res­i­dents say they have never seen be­fore.

Some emer­gency supplies were de­liv­ered by air­craft on Fri­day, but it was late in the af­ter­noon be­fore winds died down enough for planes to safely fly.

Nor­mally, the state runs ferry ser­vice to Ocracoke from the south­ern end of Hat­teras Is­land to the north, from Cedar Is­land to the south, and from Swan Quar­ter to the west. All ferry ser­vice was sus­pended ahead of Hurricane Dorian.

Ser­vice from Swan Quar­ter was the first to be re­stored. Ferry of­fi­cials say boats are ex­pected to run from Cedar Is­land be­gin­ning on Sun­day. It’s un­clear when ser­vice will be re­stored from Hat­teras, where sim­i­larly heavy flood­ing de­stroyed at least two large sec­tions of N.C. High­way 12.

Hun­dreds of peo­ple re­mained on Ocracoke through the storm, and are now left on an is­land that has no power, no land­line phone ser­vice and lim­ited cell ser­vice.

Elec­tri­cal ser­vice is de­liv­ered to Ocracoke by way of Hat­teras, and be­cause of dam­age at Hat­teras it’s not clear when ser­vice will be re­stored.

But gen­er­a­tors are com­ing, along with gas and diesel fuel to run them. Also on the way are telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions work­ers who can start to work on rebuilding mo­bile phone ser­vice; N.C Na­tional Guard mem­bers with high­clear­ance ve­hi­cles that can power through deep wa­ter; and the min­is­te­rial ser­vices of Ivey Belch, pas­tor of Livesav­ing Church — Ocracoke As­sem­bly of God.

JULIA WALL [email protected]­sob­server.com

A fuel truck boards the Swan Quar­ter Ferry with other emer­gency re­sponse ve­hi­cles, gen­er­a­tors and supplies headed to Ocracoke, an is­land of North Carolina’s Outer Banks that took heavy dam­age from Hurricane Dorian.

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