By Maya Rhodan
July 31, 2017

Vacationers on two of North Carolina’s Outer Banks islands were forced to evacuate due to power outages that have put a damper on the area’s summer vacation season.

The problem worsened after a construction company damaged underground power cables while building a bridge in the area. According to a statement by the Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative, PCL Construction drove a steel casing into transmission cables on July 27. Since, the electric cooperative has been working to splice the cables back together and build a new, overhead transmission line. It is pursuing both options at once in order to get work done as quickly as possible.

“Depending on which solution turns out to be the most practical, the timeline for a complete repair could vary from one to two weeks,” the cooperative said in a statement.

In the meantime, a mandatory evacuation is in place for Hatteras and Ocracoke islands, impacting some 70,000 visitors who have had to leave the area by car and by ferry, according to NBC News. Full-time residents and business owners have been allowed to stay in place. But for many locals, the loss of vacationers means less revenue in the middle of tourist season.

“It’s like having a hurricane without the bad weather,” Lisa Sturgill, general manager of the Cape Hatteras Motel, told WRAL. “All of our rooms are empty. But it’s just another storm. We’ll get through it like we always do.”

Angela Conner Tawes, who manages a grocery store in Buxton, N.C., told WITN that while residents will be fine, they’re taking a financial hit.

“Financially for us, losing time in August is a big deal,” she said. “This is when we make our money for the year. We’re just holding our breath and waiting.”

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