Topsail Island to reopen following Hurricane Florence

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The leaders of Topsail Island towns met Wednesday afternoon and decided to allow residents to re-enter the island on Thursday morning as crews continue to work to restore power, water and sewage to the island after Hurricane Florence.

Topsail Beach, Surf City and North Topsail Beach will open Thursday morning at 9 a.m., though some residents may still be without water, sewer or power. 

People with a re-entry pass or decal will be able to enter the island, and people without the pass or decal must have proof of property ownership and a valid ID, according to a Topsail Island news release. North Topsail Beach property owners without a pass or decal can use a driver’s license with a North Topsail Beach address for re-entry. 

Topsail Beach and Surf City pass holders can only enter the island by the Surf City Swing Bridge, while North Topsail Beach pass holders can only enter via the North Topsail Beach high-rise bridge. 

According to Topsail Island, the towns cannot guarantee emergency medical or fire assistance, so people with health concerns or challenges should consider delaying re-entry until the services are available. 

The island will also have a curfew from the hours of 9 p.m. until 7 a.m., which will be strictly enforced. 

Surf City Mayor Doug Medlin said that residents would be able to bring people with them to assist them with their properties. 

Crews have been working to clean the streets, which should be completed by Wednesday at noon, according to Medlin, who said the town saw heavy damage, major beach erosion, depleted sand dunes and oceanfront homes in disarray.

Another problem has been damage caused to the water and sewer lines. Medlin said that workers are having to isolate a section of the town.

Residents who live in and north of the 1000 block of Shore Drive and Topsail Drive will most likely not have water and sewer facilities when they open Thursday morning, according to Medlin.

“I came here because I wanted to make it known that we are upset,” said resident and business owner Patrice Parker. “We are mad and tired. We just want to assess our damage. We are not asking to stay, we are asking to assess so I know when I come back tomorrow, do I need plywood, do I need a tarp what do I need?”

Some residents feel the town has been distant in relaying messages as to what’s happening over the bridge. The town says they’ve been trying, but internet and wifi connections have been spotty at best.

Medlin said residents have not been allowed to cross the bridge into Surf City because water and sewer facilities have not been restored. 

“It’s not going to be human nature to go over there and just look at it and say, ‘Oh, it’s messed up, I’ll go back and come back another day and fix it.’ They are not going to leave once they go over there,” Medlin explained. “Therefore, our sewer system will get stopped up too, because they will have to use the facilities if they are there.”

Describing the damage residents can expect to see, Medlin said some residents on the ocean front will be left with half a home. He said the pier only lost around 100 feet at the end, but sand dunes on the beach were destroyed. 

Topsail Beach will also open on Thursday. 

You can view Medlin’s full interview below:

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