ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. (WITN) – Outages struck an Eastern Carolina beach town Sunday morning, leaving thousands of people to embrace the wintry weather.
As Eastern Carolina faced its coldest conditions in more than a year, thousands of residents in Atlantic Beach were left without power. According to a Duke-Progress Energy report, over 3,600 customers were without power along the Atlantic Beach strip.
“I woke up at 6 a.m. and it was cold,” Atlantic Beach resident Beth Hardy said. “So, I was like I have got to get out of here.”
According to the WITN First Alert Weather Team, there was a chilling temperature of 24 degrees and a wind chill of 11 degrees at 6:10 a.m. when the power outages, caused by damage to major power lines, began being reported. Atlantic Beach police could be seen at intersections directing traffic while work to fix the outages was underway.
“We spoke with Duke Power and they are working on switching over some systems that failed. They are changing the power grid to a new one and are actively working to get it fixed. They should have it all fixed in a few hours,” Atlantic Beach Police Chief David Clifton said.
Residents expected to have power back by early afternoon Sunday, but that time quickly began to get pushed back.
“It was 10:45, now it’s noon, and still nothing,” Atlantic Beach resident Carie Morgan said.
Some businesses like the 4 Corners Diner were affected by the outages but were eager to get power back soon to serve their community.
“We are offering 30 percent off to all locals who want to come and have lunch so that we can feed them because we know they’ve been without power so we’re trying to give back to them,” server Crystal Delaney said. “We know it’s a rough time for them right now.”
Tackle Box Tavern Owner Marshall Barnes said power outages happen often in Atlantic Beach, so they have to think quickly to avoid closing.
“We’re known for being open 365 days a year, so we immediately got the generator out and got it set up,” Barnes said. “We got everything powered up so people could come in.”
With temperatures staying in the low 20s and 30s Sunday, residents said they were left to face the cold.
“Don’t know what to do,” Morgan said. “Figure it out as the day goes by.”
Atlantic Beach Police Chief David Clifton told WITN that 98% of power has been restored in the town as of 5 p.m.
So far there are no updates from Duke Energy on what caused the damage to the major power lines.
WITN will have more updates as we gather more details.