February 8, 2016

Super Bowl Sunday storm brings high winds, coastal


A strong coastal storm that formed off the southeast coast Sunday morning and then spent the better part of Super Bowl Sunday deepening off the North Carolina coast brought winds that almost reached hurricane force and coastal flooding to Hatteras and Ocracoke islands.

By noon today, most of the flooding had receded and NCDOT was busy scraping sand and water off Highway 12 in several areas on both islands.

The rain started before daybreak on Sunday, Feb. 7, and the wind picked up as the day went along -- first from the northeast and then shifting to the northwest in the early evening.

According to the National Weather Service in Newport/Morehead City, 2.32 inches of rain was measured in Frisco over the weekend, though it was the wind and coastal flooding that really put a damper on some Super Bowl parties.

Wind gusts of 70 or slightly above were measured at several gauges in Hatteras village.  In Brigands' Bay in Frisco, the wind gusted to 60 mph, though the highest gust that the National Weather Service measured at its automated surface observation system at Billy Mitchell Airport in Frisco was 53 mph.

The highest winds were generally between about 5 and 10 p.m.

The high winds caused storm surge off the ocean and the sound on the islands.

At this morning's high tide, about 7 a.m., there was ocean overwash on Highway 12 in north Rodanthe, north Buxton, and north Ocracoke.

Highway 12 in Rodanthe from Mirlo Beach down to the Rodanthe Pier was covered with ocean water, but apparently was never closed.

According to N.C. Department of Transportation, Highway 12 was closed in Buxton for a time around the high tide, though apparently NCDOT equipment would move off the roadway from time to time to let traffic through. Officials were warning drivers of small vehicles to proceed at their own risk.

Island Free Press photographer Don Bowers, who was taking photographs in the area, said he saw both the Budweiser truck and the mail truck come through the highway in north Buxton -- with the beer truck first.

The highway was flooded from just north of the motels all the way down into the village and past the turnoff to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

The ocean also flattened dunes on the east side of the Frisco Pier, and sand and chunks of asphalt covered the parking area.

On north Ocracoke, Highway 12 was also closed, and the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry was not running.

According to the Hyde County Emergency Services Department, about 600 feet of dunes were flattened along the highway on the north end -- dunes that had just been rebuilt after having been obliterated last fall as a coastal storm battered the area and Hurricane Joaquin passed off the coast. The dunes were being restored by NCDOT with sand that had been dredged out of Hatteras Inlet.

By noon, Hyde Emergency Services reported that the flooding had receded and the road had been scraped enough to reopen. The Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry started running at 1 p.m.

There was also soundside flooding in the villages of Frisco, Hatteras, and Ocracoke.  The flooding was mostly minor in Frisco, but Hatteras and Ocracoke both got about 2 feet of sound tide -- perhaps more in some places -- according to reports from residents.

There was also heavy ocean overwash along Highway 12 -- the Beach Road -- in Kitty Hawk, where the roadway has been damaged and repaired twice recently.

Dare County Schools finally decided to close today after having announced a delayed opening.  However, many parents were posting on social media that they were not happy with how the issue of school delays and/or closings was handled. The schools did not release news of the delay until early this morning when many students were getting ready for school and there was still tide in the villages.

The National Weather Service says that ocean overwash will continue to be a concern on Hatteras and Ocracoke into tonight and that the coastal flood warning, which was set to expire at 4 p.m., will be changed to a coastal flood advisory.  High tide this evening is about 8 p.m.

The Weather Service is also forecasting a much drier week ahead but with very cold Arctic air filtering into the area and high and low temperatures dropping much below average -- especially Thursday and into the weekend.

For more information on the forecasts and advisories, go to www.weather.gov/mhx.

Click Here To View the Slide Show

Cape Hatteras Motel along with the rest of Buxton, taking the brunt of this storm. At least we're getting to the other side of high tide now.

Posted by Brett Barley on Monday, February 8, 2016

Video by Brett Barley - North Buxton

Mirlo Beach

Posted by Scott White on Monday, February 8, 2016

Video by Scott White - North Rodanthe

Frisco Pier early a.m. Dune on left completely gone- dune to right severely damaged - overwash from sound to ocean

Posted by Linda Scott on Monday, February 8, 2016

Video of Frisco Pier  by Linda Scott
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