Monday, August 15, 2022

After Isaias, Oak Island to consider new mandatory evacuation policy for named storms

Storm surge from Hurricane Isaias destroyed the ground-level of structures located on the first few blocks of the island. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)
Storm surge from Hurricane Isaias destroyed the ground-level of structures located on the first few blocks of the island. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)

OAK ISLAND — The Town of Oak Island appears to have learned from what many called a mistake made during Hurricane Isaias.

Next week, Town Council will consider adopting a new policy for ordering mandatory evacuations of non-residents ahead of named storms projected to make landfall nearby.

When Hurricane Isaias made landfall as a Category 1 storm Aug. 3 at 11:10 p.m. in Ocean Isle Beach, residents and vacationers occupied beach houses during a summer season that, despite Covid-19, was in full swing.

Oak Island was one of four Brunswick County waterfront municipalities to not issue a mandatory evacuation of visitors ahead of the storm. Meanwhile, Bald Head Island, Ocean Isle Beach, and Holden Beach did issue mandatory evacuations for visitors.

Arguably the most impacted beach community from the storm, Oak Island residents and visitors alike experienced more than six feet of storm surge. The surge wiped out dozens of cars and ruined the ground-floor of any structure located in the first few oceanfront blocks of the island.

The new policy would trigger a mandatory evacuation of non-residents for any named tropical storm or hurricane projected to make landfall between Georgetown, S.C. and Wilmington.

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