HATTERAS ISLAND, NC (WAVY) - North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue is asking the federal government to declare a disaster for seven coastal communities, including Dare and Hyde Counties.
That declaration would mean home and business owners could get federal money to help clean up and repair damaged property, but the tourist season is basically over on Hatteras Island.
Three to four miles on the other side of the Bonner Bridge, on Pea Island, a lot of Highway 12 has been washed away.
There are four breaches; the first is clearly cut, but there is a shallow foundation left on which to build new road. The foundation of the second part of road washed away is also still intact.
It is the third breach that will be the biggest challenge to fix. The gap is about 250 feet wide and the foundation has been washed away. The cut has created an inlet from the Pamlico Sound to the Atlantic Ocean.
Sandy Sanderson, the Director of Dare County Emergency Management, said, "certainly this development has slowed how we travel in and out of Hatteras Island. We are using a ferry service to get commodities to the island. We need residents to be patient. They are going to have to adjust getting on and off the island. I can assure you we will do everything we can to accommodate them."
Heading south off of Pea Island, at Mirlo Beach, major road reconstruction is also necessary. The road to the beach, which is in the north part of Rodanthe, was also washed away.
Another big challenge for officials is getting their residents out of the dark.
"There is no power on Hatteras Island, and at this point that is my biggest concern," Sanderson said.
2,500 residents from Rodanthe south don't have power and can not get off Hatteras Island by road.
Medical emergencies will also be a problem.
"We have medical service available, and the critical patients will leave by medevac off the island," Sanderson said.
Despite all the challenges the island is facing, working in their favor is the fact that they have been through this before.
In 2003, following Hurricane Isabel it took about two months to fix a half mile breach in the road between Frisco and Hatteras Village. The 2003 reconstruction was a more complicated project than the upcoming road repairs.
Sanderson refuses to give a time deadline. In the meantime, don't be surprised if the folks who fixed Highway 12 in record time are asked to fix what Irene left behind.
Norfolk Police are investigating an assault on a man Thursday night.
Tributes from those who knew Nelson Mandela began pouring in from across the globe, including words from two Hampton Roads leaders.
A company has been hired to complete the repairs to the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge on the Outer Banks, but how long those repairs will take remains unknown.