March 11, 2013
Ocean continues to pound northern
Hatteras Island…WITH SLIDE SHOW
By IRENE NOLAN
coastal storm that brought high winds and soundside flooding to
Hatteras last Wednesday, March 6, is long gone, but heavy surf has
continued to pound the island, closing Highway 12 for hours at high
tide for the past five days.
And the heavy seas could continue to close the road at high tide – perhaps into Wednesday.
12 was closed overnight and this morning. It opened again about
mid-afternoon with law enforcement roadblocks, one-lane traffic, and a
pilot car leading travelers through the Pea Island area.
road will close again at 7:30 p.m. and remain closed until after high
tide tomorrow morning, which is about 9 a.m. After the tide recedes,
officials will assess the condition of the highway, clean it up again,
and open it as soon as possible.
About the only good news about the highway has been that the roadbed is apparently not seriously damaged or compromised.
to North Carolina Department of Transportation and county officials,
there is slight damage to the asphalt on the south side of Pea Island
Bridge. At that point, traffic has been one lane. However,
the repair is not expected to take long once the overwash stops.
main headache for travelers has been that DOT crews have had to close
the highway to clean sand and water off the pavement after every high
tide since last Thursday.
The coastal low that moved offshore of
the Virginia-North Carolina border last Wednesday was a slow mover as
it headed northeast. Meanwhile, a high pressure over the Great
Lakes kept North Carolina sandwiched in a pressure gradient with high
Waves and swells continued to build all last week and
were as high as 10 to 15 feet – with some up to 20 feet – over the
There was ocean overwash over Highway 12 in Kitty Hawk,
at the Pea Island Inlet Bridge, the S-curves and Mirlo Beach, north
Buxton, and on the northern end of Ocracoke. There were also
reports of some overwash east of Hatteras village on Saturday night.
all of the sand dumped on top of the sandbags at the S-curves in
northern Rodanthe has been washed away, but the bags have held up and
more sand will be trucked into the area when the overwash stops.
sandbags were “buried” in the beach after Hurricane Sandy and did their
job of acting as a bulkhead to break the big waves before they hit the
Casey Dail, meteorologist at the National Weather
Service in Newport, N.C., says the seas are forecast to slowly come
down tonight. The Weather Service’s high surf advisory, which
forecasters have kept extending, now ends at 1 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Dail says a cold front will approach the coast tomorrow from the west
with strong southerly winds of 20 to 25 knots and that seas will
continue at about at 7 to 9 feet until at least Wednesday.
irony that Tony Tata, the new DOT secretary, will be having a town hall
meeting tonight in Manteo has not been lost on Hatteras islanders who
won’t be able to go unless they stay all night.
Tata will speak after a three-hour DOT informational meeting on its recommended long term solution to bridging Pea Island Inlet.
Late this afternoon, it was reported that Gov. Pat McCrory will also attend the meeting.
DOT’s Ferry Division has added an extra departure each way on the Swan
Quarter-Cedar Island run to accommodate travelers who want to leave
Hatteras and Ocracoke.
The following additional departures will continue daily until normal conditions resume on Highway 12:
Ferries will also continue to depart at the following regularly scheduled times:
- From Ocracoke to Swan Quarter at 10 a.m.
- From Swan Quarter to Ocracoke at 1 p.m.
- From Ocracoke to Swan Quarter at 7 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
- From Swan Quarter to Ocracoke at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
The division will continue to monitor traffic demands and additional runs may be added as necessary.
can call 800-293-3779 (BY-FERRY) and Press 1 for up-to-date ferry
information, or sign up to receive Tweets on their personal cell phones
by going to www.twitter.com/ncdot_ferry.
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