September 21, 2014


Coastal low dumps up to 5.25
inches of rain on Hatteras

By IRENE NOLAN


A low pressure system that formed off the southeast coast late on Friday sent extremely heavy rainfall onto Hatteras Island, especially the southern part of the island, on Saturday, Sept. 20, as it headed northeast.

According to the National Weather Service office in Newport, N.C., unofficial totals by trained observers for the 24 hours ending at 7 a.m. this morning were 5.35 inches in Hatteras village and 3.32 in Salvo, where the rain started later in the day and was not as heavy.

The cloudbursts on southern Hatteras began around 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, let up for a three or four hours in the afternoon, and then started again in earnest about 4:30.  It continued, heavy at times, until after daylight on Sunday.

The heavy rain caused treacherous ponding of water in roadways, especially through Frisco and in Hatteras village.

By Sunday morning, the stormwater just north of Hatteras village and in parts of the village was up to 18 inches to 2 feet along Highway 12.  Motorists were stopped at each side of the ponded water, letting one car go through the water at a time.

On northern Hatteras, there were a few inches of rainwater in the usual spots that flood in Salvo and some water in the highway at Mirlo Beach, though it was unclear if that water was from the downpours or from ocean overwash.

According to motorists, there were no problems at the temporary bridge or in the "canal zone" just south of the Bonner Bridge.

Hatteras Island's Day at the Docks celebration continued along the Hatteras village docks as planned from late morning until late afternoon yesterday.

The celebration was larger with more exhibits, food, entertainment, and events than ever before, and drew a record crowd despite the heavy rain.

In some of the cloudbursts in the late morning and again in late afternoon, visitors took refuge under the many tents, though they paraded through the puddles in the parking lots along the docks like troopers in between.

Every possible parking spot along Highway 12 in the heart of the villages and in many lots and grassy areas was taken by cars and trucks.

Also, Tony Tata, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Transportation, made a brief appearance at the Day at the Docks celebration.

Without any public notice, Tata flew into Billy Mitchell airport in Frisco and was driven north on Highway 12 to the beach restoration project at the S-curves and northern Rodanthe and to the temporary bridge at Pea Island.

Then he attended a by-invitation only presentation of "Mapping our Future," Gov. Pat McCrory's recently released 25-year plan for the state's transportation infrastructure.  The meeting was at the Fessenden Center, and the general public and the media were not invited.

In addition to Tata and his assistant, Andrew Bell, who traveled here with him, these persons attended:  Warren Judge , chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners, who organized the presentation; Jerry Jennings and Pablo Hernandez of the N.C. Department of Transportation; Malcolm Fearing, District 1 member of the state Board of Transportation; Paul Tine, Democratic candidate for N. C. House of Representatives, District 6, who also currently holds that seat; Mattie Lawson, Tine's Republican opponent; Wally Overman, Republican candidate for Dare County Board of Commissioners, District 1; Maragerette Umphlett, Republican candidate for the county Board of Commissioners, District 1; Browny Douglas, chairman of the Dare County Republican Party; Beth Midgett, chairwoman of the county's Citizen's Committee to Replace the Bonner Bridge; Susan Flythe, general manager of the Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative; John Hooper of Buxton, former county commissioner, and George Banks of Hatteras village, who was hosting Overman and Douglas at his home for the weekend.

Judge said that he received a call from Tata's office late on Friday afternoon asking him if he could put some people together on Saturday to hear about the 25-year plan.  He said that he was asked to invite the Board of Commissioners, the town mayors, and some civic and community leaders, which he did. He added that not all of those who attended came at his invitation and most of the elected officials could not make it on such short notice.

Finally, Tata made a short visit to Day at the Docks, where he shook hands and answered a few questions before he went back to the airport to leave.

When a reporter asked about the recurring overwash at the south end of the temporary bridge at Pea Island Inlet, he said that Jerry Jennings, District 1 engineer, "knows something needs to be done with the temporary bridge location in the short-term."

You can view the "Mapping our Future" plan at http://www.ncdot.gov/ncvision25/.



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