Hatteras and Ocracoke escaped the
severe damage that was predicted as Hurricane Arthur passed to the
west of the islands as a 100 mile-per-hour Category 2 storm in the
pre-dawn hours this morning.
The winds blew at about 90 knots, as
advertised, and houses shook and creaked with the gusts. The highest
winds lasted a couple hours from about 1 a.m. until 3 a.m. or so.
However, on southern Hatteras and
Ocracoke, the soundside storm surge was much lower in most places
than the 3 to 5 feet that was forecast.
The southeast wind blew the water of
the sound behind the barrier islands during the evening. It piled up
on the west side of the sound on the mainland. Just before dawn, the
wind shifted to the north and northwest and blew the water back
toward the islands, but it came back in much more slowly than had
None of the surge heights has been
confirmed, but Buxton, Frisco, Hatteras village, and Ocracoke got
little or no sound flooding. Avon had a foot or two in places. And
the tri-villages had more than that with unofficial reports of up to
6 feet in places.
Ocean overwash was not as significant
as expected, nor was the beach erosion as severe -- at least not from
David Glenn, meteorologist at the
National Weather Service in Newport, N.C., said today that
forecasters are attributing the lesser storm surge to the wobbling of
the center of the hurricane more to the west as it moved up the
Pamlico Sound. At times, it was actually over the mainland. And a
big contributor was the speed at which the storm moved up the sound
and off the Outer Banks.
Arthur made landfall near Cape Lookout
at about 11:15 last night. Its speed increased as it continued
northeast up the sound. The Weather Service says the storm
eventually moved off the barrier islands at about Oregon Inlet and
continued northeast up the coast, mostly offshore.
Early reports about Highway 12 indicate
that there is sand and water over the road in places, especially in
north Rodanthe and Pea Island.
The road is damaged at the small bridge
over Pea Island Inlet. And it is possible that the asphalt is
compromised in a few other places on Pea Island.
The Department of Transportation is
working on Hatteras Island this afternoon to assess the damage and
plans to make repairs as quickly as possible.
Dare County Control Group said today in a news release that it is
maintaining close contact with NCDOT officials on the efforts to
restore access to Hatteras Island.
soon as a determination is made that Highway 12 is safe for passage,
officials will assess whether access can safely be provided to all
Hatteras Island villages, and that the necessary infrastructure is in
place to provide essential goods and services. At that time a
re-entry advisory will be announced. Until then, access to and
from Hatteras Island on Highway 12 will remain closed. This
includes the villages of Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton,
Frisco, and Hatteras.
forecast is for cooler weather over the rest of the holiday weekend
with gradually subsiding winds and seas.
officials warn that the rip current threat will be very high for the
next several days and that swimmers should exercise extreme caution.
The ocean is still very rough with a threat of strong shorebreak that
can slam swimmers onto the beach.
you are caught in a rip current, do not try to swim against it. Swim
parallel to shore and head back to the beach when you are out of the
force of the rip -- they are usually not very wide.
of the damage of Hatteras involved downed or uprooted trees and tree
limbs and other debris on the ground, roads, and driveways.
was also scattered damage to roofs.
flooding was minimal on the southern end of the island with more
significant storm surge in Avon and, especially, in Rodanthe.
north Rodanthe, campers were blown around. In one campground, a
camper is still missing.
the height of the hurricane, 2,200 Hatteras Island customers of Cape
Hatteras Electric Cooperative were without power. By early this
afternoon, all major circuits were back online and only scattered
Park Service facilities at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore are
still closed, including beaches, which are closed to vehicles but
open to pedestrians. There has been no word from the Park Service
today about when beaches, the lighthouses, and other facilities will
July 4 fireworks on the Avon Pier have been rescheduled to 9 p.m. on
Monday, July 7. The Fourth in the Village celebration, planned for
today in Hatteras village, has been cancelled.
Ocracoke on this Independence Day is
out of power but is cleaning up after Hurricane Arthur passed close
to the island in the early morning hours.
The island was spared soundside
flooding, but an estimated 30 power poles are down throughout the
village and along Highway 12. The north end of Highway 12 is covered
by 1 to 2 feet of sand and ocean overwash.
A lot of trees are damaged or downed.
There’s plenty of tree debris all over the village and some damage
At the Deputy Control Group of about 12
officials and business owners meeting this morning, Justin Gibbs,
Hyde County emergency services director, said Tideland Electric was
bringing over three crews as soon as the Pamlico Sound ferry channels
were deemed safe, which they hoped would be around 1 p.m.
All 1,300 customers on Ocracoke are
without power. It is hoped that the generator on Ocracoke will be
powered up sometime today. If so, it will be on one-third power,
which means that the island will be divided into three sections and
power will be rolled around with two hours on and four hours off.
That won’t much help the local
restaurants and businesses that don’t have their own generators.
Tideland does not expect full power to
be restored before Sunday.
The evacuation on Ocracoke was
voluntary, and officials have estimated there were still 9,000
visitors on the island.
Since there still are many visitors,
the group decided that a curfew will be in effect nightly from 10
p.m. to 6 a.m. until full power is restored.
On Thursday the control group
authorized Gibbs to request emergency help from the state in the form
of pallets of bottled water and meals-ready-to-eat, as well as a
Salvation Army canteen. However, today the group decided that the
situation here was not dire enough for those provisions.
It also released a medical team that
was on standby Thursday.
Even though the state-of-emergency is
still in effect, the group agreed to allow alcohol sales.
As for ferry service, Jed Dixon, a
deputy Ferry Division director, said in a phone conference with the
group that access to the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry from Hatteras side
will be restricted to infrastructure needs and emergency services.
Residents will be allowed to use the
ferry on Saturday. If they do not have their new re-entry permits,
last-year’s placard or a driver’s license showing Ocracoke
residency will suffice, Dixon said.
In the meantime, the Ferry Division has
waived the fees for anyone wishing to leave on ferries to Swan
Quarter and Cedar Island.
Ed Fuller, supervisor of the Ocracoke
District of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, said the beach and
other park facilities are closed until further notice.
While a full
slate of July 4 activities, including the Old Time Parade,
have now been cancelled, the traditional flag-raising ceremony with
Ocracoke Boy Scout Troop #290 will take place tomorrow (Saturday)
morning at 9 a.m. at the flag circle at the Ocracoke School along
ROADS AND FERRIES
Carolina Department of Transportation's Ferry Division resumed
service to Ocracoke from Swan Quarter and Cedar Island this afternoon
(July 4). However, Hyde County Emergency Management officials have
placed the following restrictions on reentry to Ocracoke Island:
July 4: Critical infrastructure needs only. No
returning residents, no visitors.
July 5: Critical infrastructure needs and retuning
residents only. No visitors.
July 6: Critical infrastructure needs and returning
residents. Visitors may be allowed in depending on status of
visitors will be allowed to depart Ocracoke for Cedar Island or Swan
Quarter at any time. Tolls will be waived for motorists leaving
Ocracoke as long as the voluntary evacuation order remains in place.
reservations on these days will be canceled. Ferries will operate on
a first-come, first-served basis.
Division operated on a reduced schedule today and will resume its
regular Pamlico Sound schedule tomorrow, July 5.
Carolina Department of Transportation crews are working to clear off
roads in some areas, while assessments of damage are continuing in
While many areas
of the coast escaped the brunt of the storm, parts of Highway 12 from
south of the Bonner Bridge to Ocracoke Island along the Outer Banks
are impassable because of sand, water and downed power lines on the
roadway. That section of the highway is currently closed to traffic.
Some areas continue to be affected by soundside flooding, which will
take some time to recede.
people to stay off the road as much as possible in the impacted areas
and allow our crews to complete the work necessary to reopen the road
and get residents and visitors back to Hatteras Island as
quickly as possible," said Transportation Secretary Tony
Crews are now
assessing the area to determine the extent of the damage and begin
repairs. Repair work could begin on a section of pavement on Highway
12 that buckled near the temporary bridge on Pea Island as early as
crews will inspect the Bonner Bridge, the only land link to Hatteras
Island, as soon as conditions are stable enough to safely conduct
underwater sonar scans on the integrity of the bridge.
The bridge is
not expected to reopen today.
provides real-time information about weather and travel conditions
through its Twitter
Facebook pages, including the NCDOT
12 Facebook page
Ferry Facebook page.
Additional information about the storm is available on the
department’s other social media and web-based tools, which are
easily accessible on the NCDOT
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