Evacuation and re-entry woes - Shooting The Breeze

About

Hi, and welcome to my "Editor's Blog"! In this space I'll be attempting to keep our readers informed on fast-breaking news and issues affecting our islands. Visit often. There's a lot going on!

Enjoy the Island Free Press and, even more importantly, enjoy our wonderful barrier island!!!

Archives

Links

Search

Latest Comments

Devildog (Protecting N.C. H…): Steve, Devildog, it is not a philosophy, but proven facts that Mr. Scott speaks of.. Negative. Dr…
John G (Year In Review – …): 100th Anniversary of the Mirlo Rescue.
Steve (Protecting N.C. H…): Devildog, it is not a philosophy, but proven facts that Mr. Scott speaks of..
Devildog (Protecting N.C. H…): Steve, I respectfully take issue with this statement: Overwash may be an inconvenience, but it is …
Steve (Protecting N.C. H…): Well said Michael Scott! More people need to realize that dune lines have been strangulating Hatteras…
Salvo Jimmy (Protecting N.C. H…): Michael Scott, Good analysis and I pretty much agree. Especially the dunes. Seemingly a long t…

Stuff

Powered by PivotX - 2.3.11 
XML: RSS Feed 
XML: Atom Feed 

« Thoughts on public ac… | Home | Not much good news is… »

Evacuation and re-entry woes

Friday 11 July 2014 at 1:30 pm.

In the 23 years that I've been reporting news on Hatteras Island, there has never been a hurricane evacuation or re-entry that was not controversial.

And Hurricane Arthur was not the exception.

The storm that became Arthur started as a low pressure area off the Florida coast the week before it made landfall south of the Outer Banks about 11:15 p.m. on Thursday, July 3.  

As early as the last week of June, the storm had the attention of forecasters, emergency managers, and residents along the southeast U.S. coast.  Any disturbance in that area -- so close to the coast -- is reason for concern. It can quickly strengthen and quickly reach the coast.

By Monday, June 30, Arthur was clearly a concern for the Outer Banks. The National Hurricane Center gave the low an 80 percent chance of becoming a named storm and said an approaching cold front and dip in the Jet Stream would lift it up the southeast coast.

There was still hope, however, that the storm would move by us offshore, perhaps well offshore.

By mid-week that hope was fading as forecast models honed in on Cape Hatteras. The storm was now forecast to become a minimal hurricane.

An evacuation was looking more likely since the week of July 4 is the busiest and most crowded of the summer on the Outer Banks.

Ocracoke finally ordered an evacuation for residents and visitors about mid-day Wednesday. And to the surprise of many, it was a voluntary evacuation, effective at 2 p.m. that day.

Later on Wednesday afternoon Dare County ordered a mandatory evacuation for residents and visitors, beginning at 5 a.m. Thursday morning.

By late afternoon and evening on Thursday, the winds were picking up, and they were really gusting by dark.

After making landfall at Cape Lookout, Arthur came up the Pamlico Sound in the early morning hours of July 4 and crossed back over the barrier islands into the Atlantic somewhere around Oregon Inlet.

The peak wind speed at Cape Lookout was 101 mph, and winds on Hatteras gusted up to and over 90 mph in some areas.  Storm surge was minimal on southern Hatteras and Ocracoke, but up to 7.3 feet in the northern villages of Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo.  The tri-villages sustained serious damage from both wind and surge from the Pamlico Sound.

About 2,200 customers lost power on Hatteras, but most did not.  By the end of the day on Friday, only scattered outages remained.

Highway 12 was impassable after the storm, but the N.C. Department of Transportation did an impressive job of removing sand and water, repairing broken and buckled asphalt, and checking the safety of the Bonner Bridge.

By Saturday morning, the highway was passable and Dare opened up Hatteras Island to residents and essential personnel. At 4 p.m., visitors were allowed to return to Hatteras.

Ocracoke, on the other hand, closed entry to the island.  More than 40 damaged power poles cut power on the entire island.

We were all fortunate that there was not a higher storm surge all along the Outer Banks and that surge and erosion on the oceanside was minimal. Most on southern Hatteras were spared damage from wind or tide.

On southern Hatteras and Ocracoke, some houses were missing shingles, a few windows were broken and screens were blown out, and downed trees and limbs fell into yards and roads and Highway 12.

The tri-villages were a different story with more serious wind damage and widespread damage from a storm surge that was measured by the National Weather Service at up to 7.3 feet in Rodanthe and 5.5 feet in Salvo.

Though Highway 12 was impassable, there were not even minor breaches of the pavement.  

The July 4 holiday and much of the weekend was devoted to storm cleanup, which continues even today in the tri-villages.

In the week since the storm, there has been plenty of discussion about evacuation and re-entry.

As is usually the case, not all folks are happy with how they were handled and some of them are really unhappy.

EVACUATION

Public safety issues aside, an evacuation during the busiest week of the tourist season is serious business for Hatteras and Ocracoke.

I haven't heard many complaints about how the evacuation was handled on Hatteras Island, although even Wednesday morning it was not apparent that the county would evacuate.

The county held onto hope during the day that there might be a change in the forecasts, but by afternoon it was abundantly clear that the hurricane was taking aim at Cape Hatteras.

The Dare County Control Group met at 5:30 and issued a mandatory evacuation order for residents and visitors on Hatteras Island beginning at 5 a.m. Thursday.  After 5 a.m. Thursday, no access was allowed to Hatteras Island.

Visitors had all night Wednesday and much of Thursday to make plans, pack up, and hit the road.  Some, but not many, residents left.

There were probably some businesses that were not in favor of the mandatory evacuation, but they've had nothing to say publicly so far. 

On Ocracoke, it was a different story.  

Many folks were surprised and perplexed by the voluntary evacuation.

Hyde County's auxiliary control group on Ocracoke met Thursday morning for the first time as the island was facing a possible direct hit that night.

It was obvious from the comments at the meeting that some members of the group were not happy that a decision on evacuation had been made without consulting them.

The decision was made by the Hyde County Commissioners in a phone call on Wednesday morning.  Ocracoke commissioner John Fletcher favored the voluntary evacuation.

On Thursday, there were an estimated 9,000 visitors on the island. No one knows how many eventually left and how many stayed.

As it turned out, winds howled, but storm surge was minimal and there was little structural damage.

However, ocean overwash made the north end of the island impassable and more than 40 damaged power poles left Ocracoke without power for close to 48 hours.

By Monday, even the commissioners weren't sure they had made the right decision, indicating at a regularly scheduled meeting that a voluntary evacuation might not have been the best action.

“We need to look into the protocol,” noted Barry Swindell, board chairman, toward the end of the two-hour meeting. “We need to include the Ocracoke Control Group. Some things didn’t exactly go the way we thought.”

“There were some decisions made, and there were some good decisions, but as time went on turned out not to be so good,” noted commissioner Earl Pugh Jr.  “We need to get more people involved earlier. It was the board’s decision (to do a voluntary evacuation). We can learn and make better decisions.”

RE-ENTRY

Unlike evacuation, re-entry stirred little controversy on Ocracoke.

With no power, it was clear that visitors should not come to the island.  Those who had stayed began leaving when ferry service was restored on Friday afternoon, July 4.

Power was restored at 9:30 Saturday night, July 5, and at 10:30, the county began allowing visitors back onto the island.

On the other hand, Dare County's decision to allow residents and essential personnel back at noon on Saturday and to open the island to visitors at 4 p.m. has brought the usual complaints and second-guessing.

Non-resident property owners who wanted to attend to their storm damaged houses or even just clean up the yard debris were unhappy that they were not allowed on the island at noon.

Off-island property owner Brenda Shade sent this e-mail to the county commissioners and copied the Island Free Press:

"You let hundreds of anxious, angry deserving homeowners wait for NO reason at Oregon Inlet.  Safety is your issue, right?  The realty company has 525 homes to inspect and you should know that they do not have the personnel to accomplish inspections in the few hours you give.  Do you not realize that allowing the non-resident back on the island frees them up to do their job better?  We spent four hours repairing screens, chairs, water damage, sand removable from our property, achieving the safety you say you want and you were not willing to give us the precious time we needed.  Do you ever have concern for us?  If indeed you do not and you cannot explain to me why I cannot come back to the island, then come forward and say, so that I may continue to seek other avenues to help me with my rights."

The 4 p.m. re-entry for visitors time was not officially announced until 3:30, though word started getting out much earlier. Shortly after noon, I was told that someone had posted on Facebook that visitors could return at 4.

Dare County manager Bobby Outten said early Saturday afternoon that no announcement about visitor re-entry had been made because the county didn't want visitors to line up at the checkpoint north of the Bonner Bridge.

However, they lined up anyway.  By the time officials started letting them through about 20 minutes before 4, vehicles were backed up to at least Whalebone Junction. And one person reported that traffic was backed up to Outer Banks Hospital.

Several new arrivals said it took them more than 4 1/2 hours to get from Whalebone Junction to Frisco or Hatteras.

Some found out when they arrived that their rental houses were not ready yet.  At least one property management company did not get all guests settled in their rentals until midnight.

Most visitors didn't seem to complain too much -- they were just happy to have gotten on the island Saturday.

The re-entry was the most controversial in the business community, which was split between those who wanted visitors back as early as Saturday morning and others who favored Sunday -- or even Monday or Tuesday.

Most property management companies opposed the Saturday re-entry.

Many employees do not live on Hatteras and also had to leave the island on Thursday.  They weren't allowed back until noon on Saturday, just four hours before visitors were let onto the island.

The companies were responsible with what employees they could muster for closing up hundreds of rental houses Thursday and Thursday night until the winds started gusting.  Many managers and employees who live here were up most of the night during the storm.

Early Saturday morning, they had to start assessing damage at houses, open them up and clean them for the new arrivals on Saturday.

The tidal flooding was so bad in the tri-villages, which had the most damage, that employees couldn't even get there from southern Hatteras in the morning.

Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo were a stinking, smelly mess of tide in yards and in the road, water damage, and damage from wind.  Water, muck, and debris from the sound filled swimming pools and ground-level hot tubs. Some rental houses needed serious repairs and cleaning.  There was no power on some streets that had been flooded.

One company worked until midnight in the tri-villages to get guests into houses or relocate them.

Most property managers wanted visitor entry delayed. Some wanted a delay until Sunday and others even later --until even Monday or Tuesday -- said Allen Burrus who represents Hatteras on the county Board of Commissioners.

One property manager said she thought letting visitors into the tri-villages raised a public safety issue.

"We weren't frivolously holding out guests while we washed windows," she said.  "We were talking basic services.

"Something's changed (about re-entry)," she continued. "It's not about public safety and services anymore.  It's political."

Meanwhile, businesses, especially from Avon south where there had been only minor storm cleanup, were eager to re-open on Saturday.

These independently owned island businesses operate on very narrow profit margins and make most of their money between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Losing July 4 business was a blow to them, but losing the rest of the weekend was even worse. They were ready to salvage what they could.

To make the point about the importance of the July 4 week and weekend, one business owner told me that he made $30,000 in one day on July 4 last year.  He made $1,600 this year.

Another business owner said she lost $10,000 in business during the three days of evacuation compared to the same dates last year.

Ouch.  That hurts, and it well illustrates the position that our county officials and control group members find themselves in when they make re-entry decisions.

Personally, I thought early Sunday would have been a more reasonable time for visitor re-entry.  However, by the time these folks reached their destinations on the island, shopkeepers would have lost the entire weekend.

Perhaps re-entry is more political -- or at least more economic. But it's not and never has been easy.

"When the governor announced the road was open, we had to let them (visitors) in," Allen Burrus said.

No matter the decision, he said, "You're going to make them mad anyway."

Warren Judge, chairman of the Dare Board of Commissioners, called re-entry "challenging."

He said that if he had Hurricane Arthur re-entry to do all over again, he would not change anything.

"We review after each storm," he said on Wednesday. "It gives us experience, but it does not give us a road map.  Each storm is different."

32 comments

Al Adam

The decision for a voluntary evacuation of Ocracoke was late and poorly considered. In consideration of access and egress on that island how any authority cannot be prepared days in advance is a question of great concern.
As for re-entry Allen Burrus said it best, “You’re going to make them mad anyway.” Why keep a visitor or owner going to the lower villages out when the highway is open? Everyone who has been through one of, or like me several of, these events is aware that the timeliness of the return makes cleanup, repair easier and possibility of residual damages less. I frankly marvel at how well our property manager handled the situation as bad as it was in the tri-village area.
Another consideration is for those renters who may have been waiting to get to their dream vacation for a year or more. Although I advocate trip insurance I’m sure many don’t expect issues this early (a U.S. record early hurricane) and I feel for their desire or need for vacation.
I’m sure that the realtors and rental owners, maybe even the chamber of commerce, wouldn’t go for it but one thing that could be done in advance is a public services type of announcement/advisory that when coming to visit an island in hurricane season (actually any season!) certain inconveniences can be created by nature. An advance explanation of what can happen makes people better able to accept it when things go bad. Call me an optimist but I believe an informed visitor is much better prepared mentally and physically to cope with the next “Arthur.”

Al Adam - 11-07-’14 15:09
salvo jimmy

For Brenda Shade

You, as well as I, can’t vote here. That’s why we get ignored many times. Our tax $s are already captured so it’s mainly about capturing the vote and the occupancy/sales tax.

Seems the staged re-entry of Irene, when the visitors and rubber neckers were kept out of RWS, was forgotten. Or the Isabel time when things South of RWS were kept closed. Just to name a couple. Could have been done this time; it ain’t rocket science.

But I’ve only owned in Salvo for 43+ yrs. What the heck do I know.

salvo jimmy - 11-07-’14 16:24
salvo jimmy

Forgot to mention.

I have break away accesses on each side of my enclosed piling area. Arthur is the first time ever that one did its thing. AND, a big AND, it was one that was on the West side and gave way as the surge went back toward the sound.

Think about them apples in terms of surge intensity.

OBTW surge depth at my place in Salvo was about an inch short of the March 1993 Storm of the Century Nor’Easter. Was at about 3 1/2 ft.

salvo jimmy - 11-07-’14 16:30
Jon

Salvo Jimmy’s right. Re-entry for parts south of RWS would be the right decision and closed RWS for 2-3 days so we can assess damage (to the community, older adults, as well as rental units) and get the job done. We’ve done it before. We know how to do it. But with visitors back early we all have to return to work and can’t cleanup and take care of the folks that need a hand. There are some older adults that have had to wait a week for someone to come and pull dow wet insulation. This should be unacceptable in our community and we should demand better from our gov’t decision makers.

Jon - 11-07-’14 17:41
Brenda Shade

Mr.Judge and Mr. Outten both returned my emails, Mr. Burrus never did. The last question asked can a non-resident owner be listed as essential personnel by their management company if the owner is responsible for the rehabilition of their property after a storm. No one has replied back. Your right, I cannot vote, only pay taxes and spend money in the communityl

Brenda Shade - 11-07-’14 21:59
salvo jimmy

BTW why spend my tax $s printing and mailing out a Non-Resident Owner Re-Entry permit that hangs on my rear view mirror. It seems totally useless and BTW being stiff plastic it’s also useless for emergency calls of nature.

Hey maybe our tax rate could be reduced by eliminating this useless permit.

OBTW does anyone besides me recall the non-resident owner re-entry permits of years ago that were color coded different for each of the various village areas that facilitated staged re-entry??? Now it’s one size fits all.

Again simple not rocket science.

salvo jimmy - 12-07-’14 06:57
PH

Thank you for stating the obvious about what really impacts the local economy and the economic value of Highway 12.
Also can’t help but think that the commisioners did the best with the circumstances. I am certain they have evaluated their decisions and see ways to tweak them. Keep in mind everyone of these storms are different and unpredictable for the entire event. Yes there were difficulities but they could have been much worse. I give them an A on their actions.

I certainly understand the frustrations about not voting, declare Dare County your residence. Give property owners all the right of residents with exception of voting.

PH - 12-07-’14 07:07
Bud

15” of water in my Rodanthe garage at the surges highest point. Truck did not even get wet. No breakaway walls here, all is well.

Bud - 12-07-’14 07:10
JimH

Bud: There is no reference point for where your home is, so it’s a meaningless response and reaches the level of bravado, as if you are doubting salvo jimmy.

Had the storm passed on Thursday or earlier in the week they would have kept visitors out for a day or two, but with it occurring at the beginning of the rental week I knew they would be let back on by Saturday afternoon.

A few other points:
1. The Control Group’s members only care about getting visitor’s on to the island as fast as possible.

2. The rental companies don’t care about homeowners, other than shaking them down for their management fee. This is universally true. Look at the terms of the contracts. They are completely one-sided towards the rental companies. Of course they are a sinking ship as companies like VRBO gradually take over.

3. Burrus always votes with his wallet and justifies every decision by stating that voting either way would have made people mad too. Follow his quotes or attend the monthly commissioner’s meetings to see/hear it for yourself. He continually plays the role of good ‘ole boy from Hatteras, trying to do his best, when in fact his self-interests are all he is concerned with.

4. As for the business owner’s who lost business: You need to plan to lose business a few days every summer. Evacuations, road damage and re-entry problems happen every year. Their is a solution to your woes: purchase Business Interruption Insurance.

JimH - 12-07-’14 08:10
Dionald Delwiche

Warren Judge’s comment that he would not change a thing was very disappointing. As a non-resident property owner who pays taxes as many others have reminded him (above) this contingent of owners deserves the right to access their homes prior to their renters. Even a few hours would spare these owners the indignity and inconvenience of waiting in a long line of tourists and renters who could arrive at their rental home prior to the owners. Warren, make this change!!!

DonD

Dionald Delwiche - 12-07-’14 10:05
Bud

Had too much work to do to enjoy the evacuation. And there was no surf, double bust.
JimH, SJ is in Salvo, I am in Rodanthe on a higher spot.

Bud - 13-07-’14 07:04
salvo jimmy

Not to mention the fact that the majority of property tax revenue on Hatteras Island comes from non-resident owners (NROs). Which in turn causes the majority of occupancy tax revenue and that follows with the resulting sales tax from visitors.

The NROs are the biggest revenue generator on the island by a large majority.

BTW just to be clear, I don’t rent my place. Just pay the property/sales tax.

OBTW PH I think the priority as established on the back of my NRO re-entry permit is fine. The issue is that it seldom has been followed in the last several yrs.

Bottom line again: VOTES & $$$s

salvo jimmy - 13-07-’14 10:35
Anonymous

“Each storm is different.”

But each re-entry process following a mandatory evacuation need not be.

Maybe set a minimum number of hours (12?) that residents and property owners can count on as a “head start” before visitors are allowed back. This will allow rental agencies to give some guidance to the displaced guests who are trying to determine when they should plan to leave home to start (or resume) their vacation.

Anonymous - 13-07-’14 11:42
MP68 Bound

We can debate the latest re entry process all we want but most likely the next one will be completely different. Remember Isabel? The NRO are being short changed, especially those that do not rent, on every re entry. We need to access our property for damage ASAP, just like a permanent resident. We do not have the rental companies to apprise us of the situation. We need to be there for immediate repairs if access is available. Hello? We pay taxes, buy new Ac units, have our house painted, replace appliances and go to Dinky’s in Feb and March to support the economy.

MP68 Bound - 13-07-’14 19:29
Denny in Dayton

I think the one area they could improve would be figuring out how to get the non-resident workers back on island sooner. I think they could have allowed they and the residents back sooner than noon, but it’s the bridge they’ll say, even though the sonar was already done.

The evacuation is why we beat it down there on Thursday and hunkered down. Our house in Frisco had no problem other than about 8 hours w/out electricity other than our generators. As someone else of captured tax dollars I wondered the same thing as Salvo Jimmy about those re-entry passes, they sound a tad useless.

Another interesting point, on Friday the 4th my wife and I were enjoying the beach off ramp 55 when we were startled by some large utility line trucks coming out of the pole road accesses, driving further down the beach, and heading back into the pole road. I thought wow a bucket truck would be an awesome beach vehicle! Lots of room for coolers and rod rack, plus the bucket could be used for spotting! What the line trucks were doing was repairing broken poles that feed Ocracoke and they have an easement for this.

Anyway, the next day at the same place I saw an NPS ranger looking at the tracks going through closure, kicking sand trying to fill in the tracks and putting up more signs. I went over to him and tried to tell him this wasn’t a closure violation, it was the electric company making repairs. I’m not sure if my point was taken, I shared this information with Allan Burrus. I wondering if they will chalk this up as a “closure violation by an ORV’ in the final report?

Denny in Dayton - 14-07-’14 08:15
Beth Midgett

I’ll weigh in on this one, just to bring a different perspective if nothing else.

I am speaking only in light of what we experienced at Midgett Realty, but can imagine, other property management company’s experiences were similar.
None of us want to see an evacuation, but I think we all understand that for public safety reasons, especially for our visitors, there are times that they must be called. Sustaining the health and welfare of our seasonally swelled population in the aftermath of a major storm without goods, services and power is just something that cannot reasonably be done. Evacuations are costly: both on a government level and at a business and personal level. Overtime, extended hours, costs that cannot be reimbursed for storm prep, less than perfect visitor experiences, the lists go on…. The quicker we can return to “business as usual” on all fronts the better and more cost effective for all (government, businesses, residents and visitors).

There is a myth I would like to put to rest. It pertains to vacation rental companies and travel insurance. I heard it circulating again in the aftermath of this storm and it angers me. “They (vacation rental companies) don’t care about re-opening to visitors because they don’t have to give money back if guests had travel insurance”. I think it is purposefully being used by certain individuals to build an “us against them” divide amongst our business community so that we do not speak of the issues in an open and transparent way.

It is true that in NC under the North Carolina Vacation Rental Act, if a tenant guest is offered travel insurance that covered the risk of a mandatory evacuation, then the landlord (homeowner) has no obligation to refund the tenant’s money. That being said, as one might imagine, that does not make for a happy situation with the uninsured guests if they chose to opt out of the coverage for whatever reason. The lesser numbers of days out due to a mandatory evacuation means less ill-will, angst and financial loss for the uninsured guest. A happy (or happy as can be guest given the circumstances) is a more likely returning guest.

Like any other insurance, our industry does not want to over use travel insurance or abuse it, or we WILL lose it. We have before. After Irene, a large travel insurance company that many of us used for over a decade pulled out of the Hatteras Island market entirely. Why should folks believe we would never want to abuse it? Without travel insurance we are not allowed to advance disburse rental income to our homeowners or to ourselves prior to occupancy, we would have to wait until after guest departure. The practice of nearly every company in the Outer Banks is to advance disburse 50% of the revenue from rental to the owners at the time of the booking. This model provides a more even cash flow to owners to meet the costs of carrying a home. Owners are able to use these funds to make necessary improvements and repairs which almost always occur in the off-season. The contractors and subcontractors of the Island and the Outer Banks are employed in the off season using these funds. The income stream of the largest employment sector, as well as the entire economy on Hatteras Island relies on this model of pre-disburse. The capability to employ and benefited, full-time, year-round workers in a seasonal business environment is conditioned on the even cash flow this model provides.

We in the Vacation Rental Industry provide roughly 80% of the lodging for all visitors (approximately 40,000 when we are at 100% occupancy) to the Island and we are keenly aware that the Island economy is a very symbiotic relationship. Retail stores, restaurants, marinas, etc. all rely on our guests to be their customers and we take our responsibility to fill our homes seriously, not only for our homeowners but for the health of our economy. We do not want to hold visitors out frivolously. Midgett Brothers owns a mix of businesses that encompass all of the above so we certainly are not after cutting our nose off to spite our face. I definitely feel for the business owner that spoke of their retail sales taking a hard hit. $30,000 of expected income during a time when we all have to “make hay while the sun shines” can gut the budget, especially of a small business.

Midgett Realty was advocating a Sunday morning opening, roughly 24 hours after allowing residents and essential workers on. This would allow us through Saturday afternoon, Sunday night and Sunday morning to finishing assessing damage, cleaning and placing temporary repairs to allow occupancy and make moves from un-inhabitable properties on Island where possible.

Because we only had such a short window, we had to “call the ball” so to speak and make decisions to move houses that had we been able to open Sunday morning, we would have been able to make the necessary repairs to make them ready for guest occupation and the guests could have stayed on Hatteras Island for the week and the occupants been out and about during the week spending money with the various Island businesses. With Midgett Realty alone, we had five large homes that fit that scenario, we had to transfer the guests north off Island (2 of the largest households not even in Dare County). Those rentals equaled about $30,000 also, but what they spent while on Island could have been substantial also: meals, shopping, charter fishing, parasailing, kayak tours, equipment rentals, ect. Had we had Saturday evening for all of the rental companies to talk (rather than clean, check-in guests and work with disgruntled guests) and cross reference inventory we could have accommodated even more moves from damaged properties here on the island (Midgett alone had to move 23 homes) rather than sending so many ultimately off Island for the week spending money in other area economies, not with our Island businesses. Kind of short sighted in my way of thinking? But shortsighted only as a result of decision makers not having all those facts at hand. We sent so many away from the Island needlessly, visitors who wanted to be HERE, desperately. What a shame.

I too, am disappointed in the continual brush off that since “you are always going to make someone mad” there is no need for discussion or meaningful open dialogue with the community after an event. Wouldn’t change a thing? As many years as our business has been through storms and evacuations (over 50 years in vacation rentals on Hatteras Island), we triage each event and always make changes to our well-honed storm plan as a result. Technology is ever evolving, circumstances change and expectations change along with both. We learn from every experience.

So what can be done? I think it is time for Hatteras Island to have a representative on the Dare County Control Group. I think it is an abomination that the only area of Dare county that typically evacuates has no representation on the public Board that makes the decision! The person chosen should not be a political figure or one that has known close political ties, rather, in an ideal world, be someone who has a working understanding of emergency procedures and also wears/has worn a business hat and is a well respected member of the community.

Sorry for such a long post. Praying that this storm makes us one and done for the year!

Beth Midgett - 14-07-’14 13:15
Fred

The Ocracoke re-entry classification can serve in reverse as the evacuation sequencing- applied with discretion, of course.

Fred - 14-07-’14 14:35
Pete

Of course the property management companies complain about residents being let on the island, and take the high ground about safety, they are the only industry that gets paid whether the residents can get on the island or not. If they had to refund rents & fees I am quite sure they would be singing a different tune.

Certainly allowing the non-resident owners on the island at the same time as others would have sped up the cleanup effort, without creating any notable traffic congestion. management company employees were allowed back to help clean up. How is a homeowner coming back to work on his own rental(s) any different?

I did not see the conditions in the tri villages, so I will not comment whether they were safe or not. but certainly closing the entire island because a few of the villages are damaged is going overboard. Opening certain villages but not others is a viable option if a few areas are deemed unsafe.

Pete - 14-07-’14 15:27
Al Adam

I saw the effort underway at our Midgett office in Rodanthe and I’m sure the same efforts were being made elsewhere. The property managers on Hatteras provide a tremendous service for owners and visitors. I saw the entire staff scrambling to help people as I have after past incidents. I feel for them under these circumstances as I do the island residents — but they deal with it time after time and are very helpful, resilient folks.

Al Adam - 14-07-’14 17:48
Bud

Usually it is a few days to enjoy peace and quiet.

Bud - 14-07-’14 19:21
JimH

Beth is right that there needs to be a representative on the control board from Hatteras Island. Probably would be best if they were not involved directly in the rental market. Maybe someone who works for the CHEC would work as they probably have the best idea of the conditions and don’t have a dog in the fight in terms of bringing people back early.

Also, I’d like to think that we could have a staged entry to the certain villages if they are ok, but I think the gawkers would present problems.

JimH - 14-07-’14 19:27
Denny in Dayton

Thank you Beth for dispelling and informing. I did not know Hatteras had no representation on the controlling board, I would agree it should. I feel for the entire Hatteras Island business community. No doubt, for some businesses this year could be their last, the straw may break their backs. While I was out on empty beaches on the 4th, I couldn’t help but think of the loss to the economy and the owners of local businesses as well as the vacationers who were missing their long awaited vacation.

I don’t look at one part of the island economy as good guys and another as bad. They all depend on each other. As Beth said let’s not let some make divisions.

There is only one group seeking to wreck the island economy and that is the environmental extremists. One who often posts here even gloated over how wonderful it was having the beaches to himself and wished it could go on. What a subhuman gloating in others suffering, utterly pathetic.

Just think, if there had been a new bridge, residents and workers might have returned on the 4th, and the island opened on Saturday. Lets be honest, there have always been storms, and the economy was strong enough to weather them. Now the island economy is so weak many can’t take the continual beating. Let’s not lose sight of the main issue and it is still access, that’s what the economy depends on. A day or two from an evacuation has less meaning if there is more access through the rest of the calendar year.

Denny in Dayton - 14-07-’14 22:45
Billfish

Denny in Dayton,
What’s pathetic is that a few self serving beach driving associations deny science, law and the will of many millions of people in organizations nationwide that oppose pro ORV views on national seashores. Quite frankly, it’s more than 99.9 percent to .01 percent in favor of greater beach driving restrictions, and that’s being generous to the pro ORV crowd. Your “environmental extremists”, which are really pragmatic realists, are the citizens of the USA. We rest in knowing the nation has spoken and the law is in our favor. And that economic card of yours has long been disproven via visitorship numbers and tax receipts.

Billfish - 15-07-’14 11:44
salvo jimmy

Here is another indication that the re-entry permits are likely a political placebo and seemingly never intended for use.

The original announced resident re-entry said driver license or tax receipt we acceptable ID. That was quickly changed to driver license ONLY, no doubt to keep a NRO from slipping past if a tax document was not scrutinized carefully for mailing address.

There was never a mention of a resident re-entry permit. So a colossal waste of tax $s no matter how trivial the amount.

salvo jimmy - 15-07-’14 18:24
salvo jimmy

Interesting that bf tries to interject access issues into re-entry.

Here’s your sign again bf.

salvo jimmy - 16-07-’14 15:37
Denny in Dayton

Billfish did you poop in your pants again?

How childish are you? I’m sure you can cite links to support you insane claims? Of course you can’t, because your claims are typical nonsense. Your claims of economic success during the Consent and the new rules have been completely debunked by this newspaper, Did you fail to read it?

Just curious, did you see my post about the history of the CHNSRA and read it? It is clear the thing that was to be preserved was ACCESS to the the beaches for the American people. Well I guess that would take reading and comprehension and that might not be your best skill.

What is your excuse for such a poor nesting season this year? The “scientist” told us theses rule would result in increases, yet we are seeing one of the worst seasons in decades? Perhaps the “scientists” are wrong and perhaps biased?

Denny in Dayton - 16-07-’14 22:43
Dave H

SJ, your reentry permit as placebo sounds pretty plausible to me! But expecting government, any government not to waste your tax dollars is like expecting fish not to swim! Their system is broken, and the incentive IS to waste money, not save it. I, like you am a long-time NRO, and own rental property as well as my (hopefully) retirement home. I’m probably about 50/50 now. I have been pretty lucky when it comes to hurricanes- my properties only sustained minor damage during Irene and Arthur. Fortunately, I have great neighbors and tenants, so post-storm, if I can’t access my places, I at least have good info! Not everyone has this luxury.
I agree that there should be accommodation made for NRO’s in the reentry process- perhaps behind residents, but very definitely ahead of the vacationers. I am my own repair person! We all need to remember, though, that tourism is the lifeblood of the island economy- it would be real quiet without it. Hard to enjoy the beach when you’re jobless and starving!

Dave H - 17-07-’14 07:36
billfish

Denny in Dayton,
Once again you refuse to believe in science, law and math—even after your federal lawsuit proved you dead wrong when it comes to science,law and math. And because you lost, you call others enviro-extortionists, pathetic, liars and nonsense. Fortunately, the outcome is all that matters. Your views have been totally reputed and millions and millions of Americans will make sure it stays that way.Just the Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife membership add up to over 3,000,000 Americans who are against your wrong-headed, self-serving beliefs—and an entire generation of progressive Millennials are ready to go toe to toe against all the false tales spun by regressives.

billfish - 17-07-’14 10:17
salvo jimmy

To clarify for those who may not know, the back of the re-entry permit has the priorities for re-entry.

1. Essential workers to get services up and running like power, water, EMT/Fire.

2. Residents and essential workers to get businesses up and running.

3 Non-Resident owners.

4. General public.

salvo jimmy - 17-07-’14 11:12
MP68Bound

SJ, it appears item 3 on the re entry permit has been overlooked once again.

MP68Bound - 17-07-’14 18:46
Steve H

Barry Swindell said “ Some things didn’t exactly go the way we thought.”

That’s the way it is with storms, you have to err on the side of safety.

Some reentry priorities need to be considered, particularly beach rental employees. They should be allowed to go in after local gov’t employees and contractors.

Steve H - 18-07-’14 11:04
Marty

Left when ordered,came back when permitted.Lost 1/3 of vacation. Double gas, food cost and the stress.My family is not rich,and just feel lucky we were able to spend some days at the beach.Seeing the damage at the tri-villages made me change my mind on evacuation order.

Marty - 25-07-’14 23:42




(optional field)
(optional field)

Comment moderation is enabled on this site. This means that your comment will not be visible until it has been approved by an editor.

Remember personal info?
Small print: All html tags except <b> and <i> will be removed from your comment. You can make links by just typing the url or mail-address.