Diamond Shoals buoy is victim of coastal storm
By IRENE NOLAN
coastal storm that brought high winds to the Outer Banks and coastal
waters yesterday has sent the Diamond Shoals buoy adrift. According to
the National Weather Service in Newport, N.C., the buoy was cut loose
from its moorings on Thursday, Feb. 5, and is still adrift in the Gulf
At 3 p.m. today, the buoy had traveled about
34 miles and was located about 40 miles east-northeast of Buxton. It
continues to report wind and sea conditions.
"The buoy has
drifted well away from Diamond Shoals and is no longer representative
of the weather conditions near Diamond Shoals," the Weather Service
said in an informational release. "Mariners are encouraged to use
nearby land-based wind observations instead of Diamond Shoals."
It will continue to drift and perhaps report until it is picked up, the NWS said.
to the Weather Service, winds in the area of the buoy gusted up to 58
mph yesterday as a coastal low pressure deepened and moved northeast
over the coastal waters. The gradient between the low pressure
and a building high caused heavy northerly winds over the Outer Banks
from Thursday afternoon into the night.
A wind advisory had been
issued for Outer Banks Dare and Hyde counties, and winds in Hatteras
village gusted to about 50 mph yesterday afternoon and evening. No
coastal flooding was reported.
The buoy was located about 14
miles east of Cape Hatteras and marked for mariners the end of the
Diamond Shoals, a series of offshore, underwater sandbars that have
caused hundreds of shipwrecks over the past several centuries off the
Cape. So many ships wrecked in the treacherous waters that the
area became known as "The Graveyard of the Atlantic."
Diamond Shoals have been marked by a light to warn mariners for many
decades. For many years, the light was located on a ship with a
crew. That was followed by a Texas tower. The tower was manned in
the beginning by the U.S. Coast Guard, but in its last years, the light
and sea condition reports were automated. In recent years, the
tower was decommissioned and replaced with an automated buoy.