Rain Continues in Emerald Isle, Ocean and Sound Still Very High
The Town had hoped that Florence's rains would end this morning, but they have continued all day long. Despite the rain (which is now approximately 20 inches total at the Town Government Complex), Town staff, Bogue Banks Water staff, and Carteret-Craven Electric staff are all hard at work to address the most significant impacts that prevent us from reopening the Emerald Isle bridge. We remain hopeful that the rain may finally end later today, and that we will at least get closer to normal tide cycles very soon.
Continuing and Worsening Impacts
The ocean remains very turbulent, and the Town continues to experience additional beach erosion. At this time, we do not believe there are any dune breaches in Emerald Isle, however, there is significant dune erosion.
The sound remains very high, although is has subsided slightly. Low-lying areas along the soundfront and Archers Creek remain flooded, and the high water levels in Archers Creek and Bogue Sound are also not allowing storm water runoff to exit via normal flow patterns, thereby creating additional storm water flooding in different locations.
Also, with the additional rainfall over the past 24 hours, there is significant storm water flooding along Coast Guard Road in typical areas, and in other low-lying areas along Ocean Drive. The Town's fixed pump system along Coast Guard Road is not operational due to the Town-wide power outages, and generators are en route to provide temporary power if Carteret-Craven Electric is unable to restore power in this area.
Town Staff, Bogue Banks Water, and Carteret-Craven Electric Staff Working Hard
All of us are working as hard as we can to address the most significant impacts, and crews are currently working on the following priorities:
- Clearing of all downed trees from public streets: Town staff is making good progress, and we hope to complete this initial high-priority work later today or tomorrow.
- Detailed damage assessment: Town staff have completed a more detailed assessment, providing a better understanding for the most strategic resource allocation to enable the Town to reopen the bridge. This damage assessment is also critical to receive Federal and State disaster funding.
- Power restoration: Carteret-Craven Electric has several crews in Emerald Isle working, with a focus on work that can restore power to the maximum number of customers at one time. One area receiving priority is Coast Guard Road due to the fact that dangerous power lines are completely blocking the road, and this area is critical to our ability to reopen the bridge. The Coast Guard Road area is currently a high priority due to the need to restore power to Bogue Banks Water facilities that serve the entire Town, and these facilities are critical to preserve their ability to maintain water service (and avoid the need to shut down the system in certain areas) in the aftermath of Florence. Other electric crews are working along NC 58 in central and eastern Emerald Isle, and they are working as hard as possible to restore power. The real-time power outage map is located at http://outage.carteretcraven.coop/ .
- Water system: Bogue Banks Water Corporation is working to repair a critical water line that provides raw water to the Town. The water line damage is along Coast Guard Road near Emerald Isle Woods Park, and feeds the Coast Guard Road water facilities that are critical to the entire Town.
- Other hazards on public streets: Town staff have completed the identification of all other hazards on public streets, and are working to eliminate these hazards.
- Police patrol: EIPD continues to enforce the Town-wide curfew in an effort to promote the safety of individuals and protect your property. The EIPD has additional officers on staff during the Town-wide curfew to provide the best possible patrol coverage.
- Activation of the Town's pre-positioned debris and rental equipment contractors: Pre-positioned contracts for rental generators and storm water pumps have been activated, and delivery is expected tomorrow or Monday (assuming the roads leading to Emerald Isle from inland are passable). The pre-positioned storm debris contract has been activated to assist our Town staff, and we expect the contractor to begin providing help on Monday (assuming inland roads are passable).
Town staff remain housed at the Town Government Complex, and will continue to work around-the-clock until the most significant impacts are addressed. We are hopeful that our efforts this weekend will promote the earliest possible return for our residents and property owners.
Emerald Isle Bridge Remains Closed, Decision to Reopen Will Be Day-To-Day
Despite everyone's continuing efforts, and considering that Florence continues to impact us, it is simply not yet safe for property owners or the general public to return to Emerald Isle. The Emerald Isle bridge WILL NOT OPEN on Saturday, and will remain closed until further notice. No decisions regarding Sunday have been made yet, and these decisions will be made on a day-to-day basis based on conditions on the ground and in consultation with other County and town officials.
No one is allowed to enter Emerald Isle until further notice, and the Town remains under a 24-hour, Town-wide curfew. The curfew will remain in effect until it is safe for the public to travel around Emerald Isle. It is illegal for anyone to leave their own property while the curfew is in effect.
As communicated previously, the curfew will be lifted and the bridge will be reopened only when Town officials have determined that it is safe for residents, property owners, and the general public. The Town's criteria for lifting the curfew and reopening the island are as follows:
- remove all downed trees and limbs from Town streets to enable power crews to repair damaged poles and electric lines,
- eliminate / remove all hazardous power lines (and other overhead utility lines) on the ground or hanging in such a way that present a safety hazard to the public,
- ensure that the public water supply is available to serve the public,
- secure all abandoned LP gas tanks, and
- ideally, realize at least some minimal restoration of power to even a small portion of the Town (the entire Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative system, with more than 40,000 customers, remains offline at this time).
The Town simply can not reopen the island for anyone until all of the tasks listed above are complete, and the magnitude of Florence and the damage left in its wake simply require time - for Town staff, for power restoration crews, and for other utility crews. The Town will review the progress toward meeting these criteria each day before announcing a specific re-opening date and time. It is also likely that the Town will initially allow residents and property owners who possess a Town re-entry permit to return to Emerald Isle earlier than the general public.
All of us at the Town understand everyone's concerns about their property and your desire to return to Emerald Isle as soon as possible, and all of us are working as hard as we possibly can to allow you to do that safely. We thank you for your patience and your understanding as we work to ensure your safety and the safety of others. Nice Matters!
Information about the bridge and the curfew will be disseminated on the Town's various digital platforms listed below as soon as these decisions are made.
The Town works hard to keep our residents, property owners, and visitors well-informed, and offers several platforms.
To receive the most current information from the Town of Emerald Isle, please:
- visit the Town's website at https://www.emeraldisle-nc.org/ ,
- check the Town's Facebook page at Town of Emerald Isle, NC,
- follow the Town's Twitter feed: @townemeraldisle,
- sign up for the Town's email newsletter at https://www.emeraldisle-nc.org/email-text-notifications ,
- sign up for text message alerts at https://www.emeraldisle-nc.org/email-text-notifications , and/or
- download the Emerald Isle APP at Google Play and The APP Store (search for "emerald isle nc") and enable "push" notifications.