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Region begins return to normalcy

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Bryon Hickman faces into the wind while watching the Pasquotank River, at Mariners' Wharf, Friday afternoon.

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From staff reports

Sunday, September 16, 2018

With most of the region now safely out of Tropical Storm Florence’s path, area counties this weekend lifted their states of emergency, closed shelters and in the case of Currituck, began allowing Outer Banks residents back into their homes. 

In addition, Elizabeth City State University reopened student dorms today that had been closed since Wednesday. 

Perquimans County lifted its state of emergency at 3 p.m. Friday, ending its nightly curfew and bans on the sale of alcohol, firearms and ammunition. County officials cited Florence’s movement toward the west and southwest for the move.

Elizabeth City officials lifted the city’s state of emergency at 8 a.m. on Saturday.

Chowan County, however, plans to keep its state of emergency in place until Monday.

The American Red Cross shelter at the K.E. White Center, which had opened Wednesday evening ahead of the storm’s arrival, closed at 2 p.m. Friday. Likewise, the emergency shelter at Perquimans County High School closed on Friday, as did two shelters in Chowan County.

Elsewhere, Currituck officials announced Friday that residents and property owners in Corolla and Carova, who had been ordered by the county to evacuate on Tuesday, would be allowed access back into the Outer Banks communities starting on Saturday. To gain re-entry, residents and property owners were required to have a re-entry pass or provide a driver’s license, tax bill, or utility bill with a county address.

Currituck officials were anticipating vacationers and visitors would be allowed re-entry to the Outer Banks starting today. 

Currituck’s state of emergency remained in effect. However, county officials lifted the ban on the sale of alcohol at noon on Friday.

Currituck also reopened its recycling centers, with the exception of one in Carova, on Saturday. Chowan also reopened its recycling sites. 

A total of 56 people, many who live in low-lying areas, hunkered down at the Red Cross shelter at the K.E. White Center in Elizabeth City, according to Carolyn Self, a volunteer for the agency.

More than 130 people — 83 at Chowan Middle School, 49 at John A. Holmes High School — sought shelter from the storm in Chowan County. About 18 took shelter at Perquimans High School, according to the county manager.

No incidents were reported at the shelters, which were supported by the Salvation Army, county departments of social services, Albemarle Regional Health Services, and local law enforcement agencies.

Just south of the region, other communities were still grappling with Florence’s impacts on Saturday.

Flooding was reported in multiple areas of Tyrrell County. As of Saturday morning, U.S. Highway 264 from the Beaufort County line to Rosebay was still impassable. U.S. 264 to Dare County was also covered by floodwaters and there were reports of flooding near N.C. Highway 94. 

In Hyde County, a mandatory evacuation order was still in effect. Sales of alcohol were still prohibited and a countywide curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. was still in effect.

At ECSU, officials said Saturday students could return to their dorms starting today at noon and that the campus cafeteria would reopen to serve meals this evening. 

Classes won’t resume, however, until 8 a.m. on Tuesday. ECSU advised campus staff to report on Monday at 8 a.m. Faculty were likewise encouraged to return on Monday to prepare for Tuesday’s classes.  

ECSU is urging students unable to return to campus before the start of classes to contact the Division of Academic Affairs. ECSU canceled classes starting Tuesday at noon and closed student dorms on Wednesday ahead of Florence’s expected arrival in North Carolina.

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