October 29, 2012

Another day of Hurricane Sandy ... With SlideShow


Mirlo Beach looking north, Sunday 10-29-2012High winds and water continue to buffet Hatteras Island for yet another day.  The rains stopped by late morning and temperatures continue to drop as Hurricane Sandy tracked around the edge of the Outer Banks and headed inland towards the mid-Atlantic region.  Due to its large size, this hybrid storm is forecasted to bring tropical storm conditions to the region into Tuesday.

Flooding remains the biggest issue as the island is still being flooded from both sides.   The sound and ocean run together between Frisco and Hatteras, and also Rodanthe.  The ocean remains huge as onlookers stand on the dunes watching in awe of the huge waves and magnificent spray which can be seen from far away.

The winds have gradually shifted more to the west this afternoon and soundside flooding continues to be the main concern at the moment.  The water has gone down slightly in some areas but still coming up in others as the winds track around as Sandy moves north and west of the area.  Forecasters are predicting winds to go southwest later on.

This morning, I was lucky enough to catch a ride with Dare County Sheriff’s Department as two officers, Investigators Doug Oberbeck and Eddie Harper made rounds throughout Buxton and Avon in their behemoth 5 ton truck with six wheel drive.

The ocean was flowing freely through the Buxton motels at high tide this morning.  Hwy 12 was heavily covered in sand which made travel through this spot difficult even for this truck.  But once north of this area, travel was easy until the Haul-over area a.k.a. the Canadian Hole which was picturesque with the sound waters making huge sprays as water slammed into the bulkhead.

From there, HWY 12 was pretty much covered over by sound water which was deeper in the south end of Avon.  It was slow going throughout Avon due to water.  Cars were parked in a variety of places with higher ground like  Ace Hardware, the movie theatre, Avon Post Office and Spa Koru.

The old village in Avon had significantly more water with most streets having a least knee high water.  Several vehicles sat in engine-high water and several lower houses looked like they were on the brink of flooding.  Investigator Oberbeck was driving very slowly through the narrow streets – partly to protect the truck and also to not create a large wake into someone’s home.  The water was so high in some areas that it was hard to see where the road was.

The officers continued their patrol throughout Avon before heading back to Buxton.  The water was beginning to recede a bit as we headed south.

During our travels, I learned that the Sheriff’s Department had large trucks also in Hatteras as well as the tri-villages.  Travel was nearly impossible north of the Top Dog (café) in Waves due to high water and sand on the road.  The road north of Rodanthe had several issues.

During our travels, distress calls were taken by the investigators from visitors calling for help, frightened by the rising waters.  Most situations were handled as normal flooding to be expected during this storm and no action was required.  However, earlier in Buxton, there was a call from visitors staying in an oceanfront house that felt that the house was coming apart.  Six people were removed from the structure that had indeed suffered a lot of damage by the hand of Hurricane Sandy.

After the ride with the Sheriff’s Department, I took a walk to check out the Buxton oceanfront.  Streets off of Old Lighthouse road were thigh deep with water and a lot of debris was at the end of Cottage and Ocean Ave.  Several cottages seemed to have sustained significant damage.  One had water pouring out of it and another was missing its steps.  Several had missing shingles and siding while another was missing its front deck.

The pool area at the Lighthouse View Motel was ripped apart.  Chunks of concrete were broken up and strewn about.  The hot tub was sitting naked without any outside covering.  The little building that stood next to the pool had been washed towards the motel building.  And there was the pool itself which had sustained a lot of damage.

Before leaving the Buxton oceanfront, a sad looking pelican sat on a remaining dune.  Like many water birds during a long storm like Sandy, they are unable to hunt for food and get worn down and exhausted.  He was easy to catch and is now resting comfortably in my yard with my pet ducks.  When he is ready, he will fly away.  For now, he is happy.

Travel back to Frisco was slow going as water continued to flow across the road in the usual area.  The stretch of water between Diamond Shoals Restaurant and Buxton Fire Department had shrunk a little since morning as had the place near Conner’s Supermarket.

It was clear driving for a few miles on HWY 12 until the Brigand’s Bay area in Frisco which had several areas of high water there and beyond.  Driving through the area is not advised since it was salt water from the sound.   The neighborhoods in this area had deep water as well.  Parts of Brigand’s Bay were not passable and the canal that passed under Spencer’s Lane was so swollen with sound water that it flowed over the road.

With travel being so severely hampered by flooded roads and the only store that I saw open today being Conner’s Supermarket; people had little to do to keep occupied.    Unfortunately, the island has been without internet for most of the day and cell service has been spotty.  Today, people were without Facebook for news and entertainment.  Century Link expects to have service restored by evening.

Let’s hope that tomorrow will be better.

Click here to see slide show.

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