North Carolina

Snake knocks air conditioning out for thousands in Outer Banks, power company says

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The Carolina Reptile Conservation and Rescue center shows how killing snakes can destroy the ecosystem.

Nearly 10,000 people were without power — and air conditioning — Monday in the Outer Banks because of a snake.

The snake was the cause of a massive outage in the coastal North Carolina beach area, Dominion Energy said.

It slithered into equipment at a power station, a Dominion spokesperson tweeted.

The snake got inside of an insulator causing the blackout for customers of the Colington substation, the Outer Banks Voice reported.

In all, 9,280 customers in Colington, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head were without electricity for about an hour, Dominion tweeted.

Power was restored at about 8:30 a.m., WTKR reported.

It might have made for a uncomfortably warm morning for residents getting ready in the morning, as temperatures in nearby Kitty Hawk ranged between 86 and 90 degrees from 6 a.m. to noon, according to weather recordings from

That does not account for humidity, which would have made the weather feel warmer than the temperature indicated.

The type of snake that caused the massive power outage was not identified. Information on the condition of the snake, and if it survived, was not available.

In a similar situation last December, a squirrel died after getting into a Duke Energy substation and knocking out power for thousands, The State reported.

Power companies have a detailed plan for restoring power after storms. A first step is making sure power isn't flowing through downed lines. Restoration the kicks in based on established priorities. Here's a look.

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.