OIA Office Remains Closed & Check-ins Suspended Until Further Notice

Post Florence Update – 9/19/18 at 6:00 p.m.

The Oak Island Accommodations office remains closed at this time and all check-ins remain suspended until further notice. Caswell Beach, Oak Island and Southport remain under a boil water advisory as Brunswick County Public Utilities continues to work to restore water to some customers in southeastern Brunswick County. Oak Island is working to restore sewer to the island, but there are a few areas still down (Ocean Dr., Beach Dr., Dolphin Dr., Pelican Dr.). All utilities may be interrupted from time to time as crews continue making repairs.

A statement from Brunswick County government states “The areas south of Long Beach Road, Dutchman Creek and River Mist will be out of water service until those repairs can be made. Customers may continue to experience fluctuations in pressure while water service is restored to these areas. Water is being processed and chlorinated at the 211 plant. Until the plant can fully return to normal operation, the water may appear discolored due to a slightly elevated level of iron. Customers may also notice a stronger chlorine taste and odor. Customers should be aware the area remains under a low pressure advisory. Customers should follow the recommended precautions contained in that advisory until the advisory is lifted, namely, boiling all water used for human consumption (including drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and food preparation) for at least one minute or using bottled water. Customers should conserve water by not washing cars, irrigating lawns or landscaping, or similar uses.”

We thank you for your support and your patience as we work to open our office again. We want nothing more than to be able to welcome you back to our area, but it will take some time. Our entire office building was flooded during Florence and at this time we have less than 10 staff members in the area. There is a shortage of food and gas on Oak Island and surrounding areas, which is also delaying efforts to begin assessing homes.

Those staff members who have been able to return from evacuation areas worked today to begin the clean up process in our office. As soon as we have an operational office and our full staff are able to return after rivers have crested and routes are less hazardous, we will begin the assessment process. Once the assessment process is complete we will reach out to guests by email with further updates.

There is no longer a curfew on Oak Island or in Southport, though a curfew is in place for unincorporated Brunswick County from 10 p.m. tonight until dawn tomorrow. Per a statement from Brunswick County government, “crews are working throughout the night to restore utility infrastructure and service but traffic on the roads at night creates unsafe conditions where they are working and delays repair work. Adhering to the curfew lets repair crews work and get infrastructure restored quicker.”

Road conditions throughout eastern NC remain hazardous as rivers crest in our area. Per the Town of Oak Island, “the bridges are open to everyone. There are still some areas with water on the roads, so please watch for those spots.”

Property Owners Allowed Back on Island Though Area Without Basic Services

Post Florence Conditions Update – 9/18/18 at 9:00 a.m.

 

The Oak Island Accommodations office remains closed. As quickly as possible given current road conditions our staff will return to Oak Island, Caswell Beach and Southport and begin assessing our office and all rental properties. Guests who have a reservation in the near future should check our website, the OIA Facebook page and their inbox for communications. We are asking that guests who are scheduled to check in after Monday, September 24, 2018, refrain from calling or emailing at this time so that we may focus our resources on getting our office back up and running and communicating with guests who were scheduled to arrive this week.

 

Caswell Beach Mayor Deborah Ahlers states that residents and property owners with proof of residency will be allowed to return today. The mandatory evacuation for visitors will remain in place until noon Monday, September 24, 2018.

 

Here is a breakdown by area of important essential service information and curfews for any property owners who are considering making their way to their property:

 

  • Caswell Beach
    • NO WATER OR SEWER (700 block to the NC Baptist Assembly)
    • NO POTABLE WATER, “sluggish” sewer (The Arboretum, Caswell Dunes, OceanGreens, Ocean Greens Condos and the Oak Island Beach Villas)
    • Currently there is a boil water advisory for all water used for human consumption (used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, food prep, etc)
    • Some roads remain flooded and are not accessible by low clearance vehicles
    • Curfew from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. until further notice.
  • Oak Island
    • NO POTABLE WATER (boil water vigorously for one minute before drinking, brushing teeth, washing dishes, etc).
    • NO SEWER on parts of island (Ocean Dr., Beach Dr., Dolphin Dr., Pelican Dr.)
    • Utilities may be interrupted from time to time as crews continue making repairs.
    • Fuel, food and supplies in stores on the island may be limited.
    • Curfew from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. until further notice.
  • Southport
    • NO WATER
    • Power was restored to most of the city yesterday, with more being restored this morning.
    • Access to the city remains limited because of road conditions.
    • Curfew has been lifted

No Check-ins This Week – Roads to Area Impassable, Basic Services Off for Days

After days of historic rainfall as a result of Hurricane Florence, the sun has started to peek out along the Carolina coast. It will take some time for Oak Island, Caswell Beach and Southport to welcome visitors again as there is no way currently to access these towns via NC’s highways and county roads.

Brunswick County Emergency Services reported yesterday that “roads are washing out, blocked by trees or downed power lines, or experiencing life-threatening flooding.”

Oak Island Accommodations will not be checking in guests for at least a week, possibly longer. We must wait for the floodwaters to recede (many rivers will crest later this week) so that roads back to Brunswick County are open again. Once our staff is able to return to the island we will assess all properties before opening our office for check-ins.

Road conditions are not the only obstacle to guests returning to our area. Basic services must be restored as well. Brunswick County government is reporting that “damage to several water mains serving the southeastern part of Brunswick County is more extensive than originally thought, and it will likely take several days before repairs can be completed and water service fully restored to the southeastern part of Brunswick County.” Oak Island town officials are saying both bridges to Oak Island will remain closed until basic services like water and sewer are restored.

We are also getting reports that there is very little gas available in Brunswick County and few businesses have re-opened to provide for needs like groceries. Cell service is also spotty at best.

We will post further updates on our Facebook page and website as the clean up process begins.

Our community needs your prayers as we start to rebuild. We have already felt your support through the many messages we have received. We have the best guests and we can’t wait to open our doors again so that we can help you find your place by the sea!

OKI Bridges Remain Closed, Road Conditions Hazardous as Florence Continues to Dump Rain

Hurricane Florence Update – 9/16/18 at 9:20 a.m.

Both bridges to Oak Island remain closed and numerous roads throughout Brunswick County and eastern NC are closed due to the historic amounts of rainfall from Hurricane Florence. The OIA office remains closed and all check-ins will remain suspended until further notice.

This morning’s briefing from the National Weather Service (NWS) gives the following situational overview:

– Life threatening, catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding are expected to continue
– Tornado threat continues today
– Major to record river flooding expected at many locations
– Do not drive across flooded areas as the depth of the water may be significant. Your vehicle may stall, or [be] swept off the road. In addition, the road may have washed away, or collapse from the weight of your vehicle.

It is important to note that though Florence made landfall on Friday near Wrightsville Beach, this is a large storm that has been crawling (reports as low as 2 mph; the average person walks faster than this) across southeastern NC dumping huge amounts of rain – and the rain from Florence is not done yet. As of this morning, the NWS projects that our area will see close to 6 more inches of rain today, with isolated higher amounts possible. All told, the NWS predicts storm total accumulations of 30 to 40 inches in southeast North Carolina.

The Town of Oak Island states that their assessment teams were able to go out some yesterday. The assessment teams report “there was some beach erosion, but only minor overwash at a few beach accesses so far. There is quite a bit of flooding on most town roads, including Beach Drive and Oak Island Drive.”

At this time the town states both bridges to Oak Island will remain closed until noon on Monday, September 17, 2018. A curfew will be in place on the island from 6 p.m. tonight until 6 a.m. Monday morning and again every night until further notice.

The Brunswick County sheriff’s department reports that “ROADS ARE NOT SAFE. We have had multiple water rescue calls to vehicles – including SUVs and pickups – submerged on major roads in all areas of the County. If you are safe, stay there. If you are not safe, call 911 or 910-253-5383.”

The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is reporting that travel is extremely hazardous across NC, particularly “on all roads south of US 64 and east of I-73/74. Motorists should not drive in these areas.”

NCDOT states that GPS systems are routing users into areas NCDOT is not recommending for travel.

I-40 is closed between Wilmington and I-95.

Once local authorities say it is safe to travel, follow this link for local road closures. Check this link for roadway conditions throughout the state.

Warning/Watches from NWS for Weekend, Road Closure Links

Hurricane Florence Update – 9/15/18 at 8:05 a.m.
 
Update from the National Weather Service:
 
“…FLASH FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT THROUGH SUNDAY EVENING…
…HIGH RIP CURRENT RISK IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE SUNDAY NIGHT…
…TORNADO WATCH 376 IN EFFECT UNTIL 5 PM EDT THIS AFTERNOON…
…STORM SURGE WARNING IN EFFECT…
…TROPICAL STORM WARNING IN EFFECT…
 
This Hazardous Weather Outlook is for southeast North Carolina.”
 
A curfew remains in effect on Oak Island until Sunday at 6 a.m. (unless extended by town authorities) and both bridges are closed. Please stay off the roads. Once local authorities say it is safe to travel, follow this link for local road closures. There is flooding in inland parts of eastern NC as well, not just Brunswick County. Check this link for roadway conditions throughout the state.

Curfew Until 6 a.m. on Sunday on Oak Island

Friday 7:15 a.m. update from the Town of Oak Island: The curfew is now in effect until 6 a.m. Sunday morning (Sept. 16) and could be extended if needed. Please stay home, stay off the roads and stay safe. Please remember that emergency services may not be able to get to you.

Both bridges are now closed and will remain closed until further notice.

After the storm, once it is safe to do so, we’ll send our damage assessment team out and make a decision about opening the bridges.

The National Weather Service briefing for this morning for the Wilmington area, which includes the Brunswick County beaches, made the following key points:

  • Life-threatening storm surge, catastrophic flooding, long term major river flooding and wind damage are occurring or imminent.
  • Impacts will continue over a long period of time given the storm’s slow motion.
  • Major to record river flooding is likely through the upcoming week, especially those basins that receive significant rainfall
  • Do not venture outdoors when the eye moves overhead, you may get caught outside when the strong winds increase again.

Town of Oak Island Issues Curfew Ahead of Hurricane Florence

The Town of Oak Island has issued a curfew from 6 p.m. Thursday night until 6 a.m. Friday morning and again from 6 p.m. Friday night until 6 a.m. Saturday morning. These curfews could be extended if needed.

All guests, tenants and property owners of Oak Island Accommodations should have heeded the mandatory evacuation orders given by the local municipalities earlier in the week. If you have yet to leave, you should note your window to be able to leave the island will close quickly today. The Town of Oak Island will close the bridges when conditions make this action necessary and town officials cannot say when the bridges will reopen. In addition, once winds reach a sustained 45 mph, fire and medical services will not be dispatched in the case of an emergency. Brunswick County is moving its ambulance off the island.

The town states that tropical storm force winds are expected to begin impacting the island Thursday morning before strengthening into hurricane force winds. The area may still be experiencing tropical storm force winds into Saturday or even Sunday.

Water and sewer service has been shut off for the beachfront.

For more updates from the Town of Oak Island visit their website.

Hurricane Florence Update – Mandatory Evacuations Ordered for ALL of Oak Island and Southport (9/11/18 10:55 a.m.)

Hurricane Florence Update – 9/11/18 at 10:55 a.m.

MANDATORY evacuation orders for all visitors to Caswell Beach, Oak Island and Southport are in effect. Any current short-term guests that have not evacuated the area should do so immediately.

For tenants in our long-term properties, MANDATORY evacuation orders have now been issued for all residents of Oak Island and Southport.

Today, our staff will be calling all current guests who have not checked out as of yet. We will also be securing our vacation rental properties ahead of the storm. We ask that our future guests, long term tenants and property owners monitor our website and Facebook page where we will make further updates as those become available.

As of noon (closing time updated in response to mandatory evacuation order for OKI residents) today our office will be closing until further notice so that our staff may evacuate or make other accommodations for their safety during the storm. Tenants and property owners should note that our phones will be off and our after hours emergency line services will be suspended starting at noon today until our staff can safely make it back to the island after the storm.

Hurricane Florence is a large storm (approximately 300 miles across) and is expected to make landfall in the Carolinas as a dangerous category 4 storm, with sustained winds of 140 mph and gusts of 165 mph. It is possible that Florence could strengthen to a near category 5 hurricane today.

In addition to our area seeing wind impacts, there is the potential for dangerous storm surge, flooding and tornadoes. There is a high likelihood of dangerous maritime and surf conditions along with rip currents, large breakers and steep seas.

Once Florence makes landfall, the storm will move very slowly. Our little corner of North Carolina is expected to see close to 8 inches of rain. Other areas of eastern NC are predicted to receive 16+ inches of rain. As rivers crest in eastern NC, many roads will become impassable. If you have a reservation to arrive over the next week, DO NOT BEGIN YOUR TRAVELS. We will make updates on our website and on social media when the local authorities have lifted the mandatory evacuation for visitors and our island is welcoming visitors again.

Hurricane Florence – Mandatory Evacuation Ordered for Visitors as of 9/10/18

The Town of Caswell Beach and the Town of Oak Island have issued mandatory evacuations for all non-residents beginning at 11 a.m. (for Caswell) and noon (for Oak Island) today. Guests should remove their personal belongings from the vacation rental and empty the refrigerator of perishables. All keys must be returned to the Oak Island Accommodations office prior to departure. Guests staying in a keyless entry property should email our guest services department notifying us or your departure. All guests who are scheduled to check into a vacation rental over the coming week will not be able to check in until the towns lift the mandatory evacuation orders and OIA staff members have completed inspections of all vacation rentals for damages after Hurricane Florence has left our area. As weather forecasts are also predicting significant rainfall to impact eastern North Carolina, guests should not begin their travels to the area before they are notified by our staff of the condition of their vacation rental. Guests who purchased travel insurance prior to Florence becoming a named storm should contact Red Sky travel insurance to file a claim or answer any questions concerning insurance coverage.

Update 9/10/18 at 2:15 p.m.

The City of Southport has also issued a mandatory evacuation for all visitors and tourists. See below for full details from Southport Mayor Jerry Dove:

A State of Emergency will take effect at 2:15 p.m. within the City of Southport due to potential severe weather conditions on this Monday, September 10, 2018.

That pursuant to this declared state of emergency, the following shall apply:

  1. Mandatory Evacuation of All Visitors and Tourists, September 10, 2018
  2. Voluntary Evacuation of Southport Residents, September 10, 2018
  3. Mandatory Evacuation of Southport Residents beginning Wednesday September  12, 2018, 8:00 a.m.