Ocracoke Observer: Village continues to reel from Dorian; debris removal underway Saturday

Just one example of the major devastation wrought by Hurricane Dorian on Ocracoke Sept. 6. Many islanders, both residents and business owners, lost everything. [Connie Leinbach/Ocracoke Observer]

The latest dispatch from The Ocracoke Observer, posted Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, 11:14 a.m. by Connie Leinbach

It’s been a week since Hurricane Dorian lashed and inundated Ocracoke Sept. 6, and while islanders continue to clean up their damaged homes, businesses and lives, debris removal will finally begin today.

The debris contractor will not collect storm debris on private property.

The graphic below details how debris should be separated and placed within the NCDOT right-of-way to be retrieved, but residents should not include household waste with the debris.

Ocracoke residents will be allowed to take only household trash to the convenience site—no flood or vegetative debris.

Mainland citizens may transport vegetative storm debris to the designated mainland convenience sites, or they can place it on the shoulder of the NCDOT right-of-way as outlined in the diagram provided. The Swan Quarter and Engelhard convenience sites will accept your vegetative storm debris.

FEMA declaration:
On Friday, Gov. Roy Cooper requested that president Donald Trump issue a major disaster declaration for public assistance for the following North Carolina counties impacted by Hurricane Dorian: Brunswick, Carteret, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Hyde, New Hanover, Pamlico, Pender, Sampson, Tyrrell and Washington.

Cooper’s letter said, “North Carolina has had three confirmed deaths related to Hurricane Dorian. The storm has inflicted major damage to the State, causing tornadoes and flooding as well as home and building collapses.”

N.C. Rep. John Torbett (R-Gaston), has been helping Ocracoke since Dorian hit and said today that his office called Sen. Thom Tillis’s office in Washington, D.C., to ask them to “move expeditiously.”

Tillis, in a tweet today, said “the N.C. Congressional delegation sent a letter to Trump requesting that the administration swiftly approve Gov. Cooper’s request for an expedited Major Disaster Declaration in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.”

Road repair
The N.C. Department of Transportation also has numerous roads to repair.

About a dozen roads are still closed, including N.C. 12 in Ocracoke where more than 1,000 feet of major dunes and pavement will need to be replaced, according to a press release.

Road damage from Dorian is estimated to be about $45 million and repairs are expected to be complete by the end of the year.

Update Saturday, 12:11 p.m. Gas at the gas station is off now. The credit card aspect is not working and may or may not be fixed by tonight.

The free gasoline on Ocracoke provided by the state ended Friday as Jernigan’s Gas Station got the pumps working. The pumps will accept credit cards or diesel and gasoline, said Bill Rich, retired Hyde County manager who organized getting the pumps back on. He thanked Michael Harrell with Jernigan’s Oil and Gas, Ahoskie, for providing the 2,800 gallons of half diesel, half gasoline.

Rich said Harrell taught him how to operate the tanker, from which locals on Friday were given a final day of free gasoline.

Islanders help get the gas station pumps working on Friday. [Connie Leinbach photo]

Rich then asked Nathan Modlin to round up some helpers.

“And 15 people were here in the morning to help,” Rich said. The team, with Harrell’s authorization, also gave 400 gallons of diesel to the Ocracoke School to power their generators while repairs are done.

The Salvation Army will continue to provide meals at the Community Center at 8 a.m., noon and 6 p.m. The Red Cross will continue to drive around the island offering food and snacks.