A week after construction workers accidentally plunged parts of the Outer Banks of North Carolina into darkness and forced tens of thousands of visitors to evacuate, some of its normal summer character returned on Friday.
Officials on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands, popular summer destinations, lifted mandatory evacuation orders at noon after electric power was restored. Around 60,000 tourists were required to leave last week, costing local businesses millions of dollars in lost revenue, officials said.
Dorothy Hester, a spokeswoman for Dare County, which includes Hatteras, said on Friday that there had been “a steady flow of people returning.” Just before the evacuation order was lifted, cars filled a parking lot on the other side of the bridge leading to the island from the north, she said.
Saturday was expected to be even busier, as people checked into rental homes for the coming week.
The process will be slower on Ocracoke Island, which is accessible only by sea and air. Ferries had carried 114 cars to the island as of 5 p.m. Friday, Donnie Shumate, a spokesman for Hyde County, said. The first two ferries on Saturday were booked.
The week without electricity at the height of the summer vacation season was a huge blow for businesses in Hatteras, Ms. Hester said.