Ocean overwash is problem again at
temporary bridge, north Buxton
By IRENE NOLAN
Saturday's high tide, about 5 p.m., traffic was down to one lane on
Highway 12 south of the temporary bridge at Pea Island Inlet as
ocean overwash flowed across both lanes of the road.
also slowing down at the Cape Hatteras Motel on the northern edge of
Buxton, where water covered both lanes of the highway and was pouring
into the oceanside parking lot.
The high tides yesterday afternoon and this morning also sent saltwater over the road in both locations.
it's possible that the high tides will continue to be problematic for
the next few days as we head toward a full moon on Wednesday, Oct. 8,
according to the National Weather Service in Newport, N.C.
Seas were running 4 to 7 feet, and up to 9 feet at one offshore buoy.
afternoon, NWS meteorologist Bob Frederick said that the
higher-than-normal tides are being caused by the combination of three
One is that tides are running about a foot higher than
normal all along the North Carolina coast. Meteorologists think
that is being caused by about two weeks of persistent northeast onshore
A second factor is a high astronomic tide ahead of the
full moon. And, finally, a very distant deep low pressure system in the
North Atlantic has been sending a swell toward the U.S. coast.
the northwest wind with the passing cold front is expected to increase
seas to 5 to 9 feet, Frederick said that hopefully the wind shift will
send the wave energy away from the coast.
tides will continue to rise each day until the full phase next week and
then will gradually subside, bringing a possibility of continuing
Overwash in the area of the temporary bridge was also
a problem for several weeks last month. Then, the overwash was
caused by swells from distant Hurricane Eduoard and before that by a
high astronomic tide at the full moon.
On Saturday, Sept. 20,
N.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Tony Tata toured the area
and said that the department was seeking a short-term solution to the
"We are aware of the problem and are
evaluating options," Jerry Jennings, Division I engineer, said in an
e-mail. "The most likely short-term solution will involve construction
of a berm through that area.
"We are currently coordinating
with the USFWS and other regulatory agencies," he added. "This work
will also have to be coordinated with the planned construction
activities. We would plan to implement this work as soon as possible."
NCDOT workers were clearing sand off the road and directing traffic
into one lane. Vehicles were backed up in both directions.
should slow down in areas of overwash and move slowly through the
water, so as not to splash the corrosive saltwater all over their own
vehicles and others.
DOT also has its webcam on the south end of the temporary bridge back online at http://www.ncdot.gov/traffictravel/.
heavy seas are also causing risks for swimmers. The Weather
Service issued a beach hazard statement for today for a high threat of
rip currents and a heavy waves breaking right on shore. For information
on Sunday's beach conditions, go to the Weather Service website at
http://www.weather.gov/mhx/ or see the NWS Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NWSMoreheadCity.