NC Gov. McCrory: 'North Carolina beaches are open for business'

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by 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on July 4, 2014 at 10:27 AM

Updated Saturday, Jul 5 at 6:12 AM

RALEIGH, NC -- Hurricane Arthur slammed northeastern North Carolina overnight Friday, but Gov. Pat McCrory says the beaches are now "open for business."

In a press briefing Friday, McCrory said there has been minimal damage and things look 'quite good' throughout the coast.

"This has been a  very good day.  There are no causalities or injuries reported," McCrory said. "People throughout the world have begun to enjoy our beaches. Umbrellas are going up as we speak."

Learn More: Initial Reports indicate Hurricane Arthur caused minimal damage to Coast

McCrory said the state was lucky with the tides and movement of the storm but say they are still assessing the damage.

At 9 a.m., more than 44,000 customers were reported to be without power in the coastal counties, with the majority of customers impacted in Carteret County.   At 3 p.m., North Carolina's Electric Cooperatives reported the outage numbers along the coast were down to 6,300.

There are 40 downed electrical poles on Ocracoke Island and most are without power.  A generator and communications package will be taken by ferry to the island Friday afternoon.  County officials say there are downed trees, medium-sized debris and some roof damage. They hope to have power restored to all of the island by Sunday afternoon. 

All ferry routes servicing Ocracoke are suspended, but crews are testing the channels.  The NC Ferry Division hopes to have the Cedar Island and Swan Quarter routes operable by early afternoon. Visitor access to Ocracoke Island will be restricted until further notice. 

Dare County damage assessments
Hyde County damage assessments

Emergency management officials were assessing the damage along the coast. So far, they've seen beach erosion and dock debris. A helicopter will go up later today to do coastal damage assessments.  

Around 11 a.m. Friday, NCDOT conducted a sonar scan of the Bonner Bridge, which was closed Thursday and connects Hatteras to the rest of the state.

The crews completed around 2 p.m. and are analyzing the data.  They hope to have results Friday afternoon.  If the scan comes back clean, they'll begin steps to allow traffic back on the bridge.

If the scan comes back inconclusive, they'll send divers down to inspect the support structures.

North Carolina officials hope to have the bridge to Hatteras Island and its two-lane highway open by late Saturday despite some damage caused by Hurricane Arthur.

McCrory said problems on North Carolina Highway 12 include some buckling of pavement and standing sand and water. NCDOT is making repairs to open NC12 as soon as possible and restore access to Hatteras Island. 

Motorists are advised to proceed with caution. Although general access to northern Dare County is no longer restricted, you may encounter particular roads where local officials need to restrict access because of potential hazards.

Bill Lucy was checking his beach side condo building in Nags Head for damage Friday morning and fared better than he expected.

"Our swing set here [was damaged] and we took a little bit of damage to the building, did some damage to the chimneys, but other than that we're real lucky it was low tide," Lucy said.

There is still work to be done, but the governor urged visitors and residents to enjoy the remainder of the holiday weekend.  

Business owners like Doug Tutwiler hope to get things cleaned up quickly Friday morning in time for the rush. 

"We'll probably be back in action tonight, be pretty busy, I hope," Tutwiler said.  

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