|A satellite view of Hurricane Irene early Friday morning. The storm struck the NC coast on Saturday. |
Credit unions in eastern North Carolina were assessing the damage and impact Monday morning in the wake of Hurricane Irene, which struck the state over the weekend. Branch closures and some damage was reported near the direct path of the storm, but the main impact to operations seemed to be the loss of electrical power.
State Employees' Credit Union reported by mid-morning Monday that six branches were closed, including the locations in Grantsboro, Kenansville, Kinston (Vernon Avenue), Swan Quarter, Swansboro and Trenton. In addition, the location in Columbia was scheduled to open at Noon. (Note: SECU branch closures and delays are posted on the credit union's web site.) Each of these closures and delays resulted from a loss of electrical power, with no significant structural damage reported.
Two SECU employees were not as fortunate. One had a tree come through the roof of their home, and the other was dealing with two trees that fell on a second residence.
Marine FCU reported that three branches were closed due to a lack of power. The locations in New Bern, Havelock and Swansboro, which all lay near the direct path of Irene, would be closed until power was restored. "They are all along the main roads, so we're hoping it won't be too long," said Marine FCU COO Jeff Clark.
Clark added that there was slight property damage, but nothing that would prevent the branches from re-opening once power was restored.
Weyco Credit Union had no power at any of its three branch locations in Plymouth, New Bern and Ayden. Manager Steven Hardison noted that the credit union closed early today due to the hot temperatures left in the wake of the storm. Hardison added that power company officials were hoping to have power restored to all three branches later today or tonight.
The storm damage was not limited to the immediate coastal areas. The drive through at Telco Credit Union in Tarboro was closed after tree limbs damaged it. Credit union staff reported that cleanup was underway and that the credit union was open otherwise. Tree limbs also snapped power lines at First Carolina People's CU in Goldsboro and the branch was closed. Cleanup was underway and branch staff reported that the credit union drive through would be open Tuesday - even if power had not yet been restored.
The storm moved ashore near Cape Lookout Saturday morning and moved steadily north through the Outer Banks. Irene weakened prior to landfall to a category one storm, but still packed a considerable wallop as she made her way through the Tar Heel State. NC Highway 12, which connects the ribbon-thin islands of the Outer Banks, was washed out in several places (Raleigh News & Observer). The state reported that Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands were effectively cut off from the mainland and only accessible by ferry. Business owners lamented that the summer tourist season had effectively been ended just prior to the critical Labor Day holiday.
Away from the Outer Banks, many areas in eastern NC reported high winds and heavy rains from the storm on Saturday. Hundreds of thousands lost power from the Raleigh-Durham area south and east to the coastline. Power companies report that it will be several days before power is completely restored.
"We'll continue to follow up with the credit unions impacted to ensure they have all the resources they need," said NCCUL President/CEO John Radebaugh. "With nice weather in the forecast the next several days, hopefully the credit unions will be able to get back to normal operations in the very near future."