Life on Hatteras Island returning to normal after power outage

HATTERAS ISLAND, N.C. (WAVY) — The southern Outer Banks is officially in recovery mode after the eight-day-long power outage.

On Friday, 10 On Your Side showed you the traffic heading to Hatteras and Ocracoke. Now, life is back to normal, but there is definitely a price to pay for all of the days without lights.

After days in the dark, Michael Raynes had one thought when the lights came back on: “We can get back to business,” he said.

Raynes works at the Blue Whale convenience store, where they sold out of the store’s front window during the outage. Eventually, they closed for several days, losing a lot of products and profits in the process.

“It’s a strain on the business, especially a mom and pop place like this,” said Raynes. “I’m sure all the businesses on the island have suffered a great deal. But you know, we’re not a big corporation, it’s just a small family business. It’s family owned, so it hurts.”

The losses were felt across the southern Outer Banks. Now, the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce is helping both people and businesses. Their first step: A school supply collection.

“As the chamber, we have to think about our future workforce and those students are our future,” said Karen Brown, President and CEO of the OBX Chamber of Commerce. “We want to make sure that they have what they need to make a good learning experience.”

For businesses, they’re working with their members to bring people across the Bonner Bridge.

“As soon as things are out of business for a week, you wonder how long it takes to pick that momentum back up,” said Brown. “Do people understand that it’s open again? Do people understand that they can take their day trip down there?”

But if this weekend at the Blue Whale is any indication, people are definitely getting the message.

“Saturday morning, there was a line of cars coming down Route 12,” said Raynes. “Just like it usually is on a changeover day.”

It was a sight Raynes was excited to see, and the people in the cars felt the same way. Just one week before, many people thought their vacations were cancelled and their money gone.

“We thought that we weren’t going to be able to come,” said James LeClare from New Hampshire. “We come down every year, we rent the same house every year. It seems like there’s a little bit less activity, but other than that it’s been great.”

For more information on the school supply drive, contact the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce.