February 9, 2016

Super Bowl Sunday storm causes some seashore closures


The same storm that has brought both oceanside and soundside flooding on Hatteras and Ocracoke on Super Bowl Sunday and that has caused travel difficulties on Highway 12 has also caused flooding and overwash issues in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

As a result of flooding from torrential rains both late last week and over the weekend and huge ocean swells that flattened dunes and eroded beaches, several off-road vehicle ramps and areas are closed in the seashore.

According to Hatteras Island District Ranger Joe Darling, Ramp 25 just south of Salvo and Ramps 43 and 44 remained closed on Tuesday on Hatteras Island.

Ramp 72, the South Point Road, is closed on Ocracoke, and much of the northern end of the island has seen severe erosion and flattening of dunes that were just rebuilt in the past few months with sand dredged from Hatteras Inlet.

The area in Buxton near Ramps 43 and 44 and Cape Point Campground are badly flooded, Darling said.  The main access road to the area has been closed at the Ranger Station.

Darling said that at high tides, waves have been breaking over Ramp 43 and down the road and parking area near it. The oceanside of Ramp 44 is completely flooded again, as is the Inside Road between Ramps 44 and 45.

Darling said that the Inside Road is open from west of Ramp 45 to Ramps 48 and 49 -- with the only exit and entrance at Ramp 49.  Ramp 49 itself, he said, is in good shape, with only a few inches of water in a low spot.

South of Ramp 49 in Frisco, though, it's another story.  The huge waves on Sunday totally flattened the dunes to the east of the Frisco Pier, tore pieces of asphalt off the parking lot, and exposed the pier's septic tank. The sturdy remaining segments of the pier, though, remain standing.

The area, which is a popular access point for pedestrians, is currently closed.

Darling said the Pole Road on Hatteras spit has had waves breaking over it and is also currently closed.

The beach is eroded at Ramps 49 and 55, he said, but there is enough sand for beachcombers and fishermen.

North of Buxton, Darling said, the storm seems to have deposited sand on the beaches, making them higher but  not wider.

Ramp 25 is still closed by a steep cliff, or escarpment, at the end of it, but Darling said the drop-off is several feet less than it was before the storm.  Ramp 32 still has an escarpment but is open to vehicles.

Darling said park rangers will be checking the beaches and ramps again tomorrow and will open areas as quickly as they safely can.

You can keep up with closures on the seashore's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CapeHatterasNS/photos/a.597408280310570.1073741827.118448211539915/1069796546405072/?type=3&theater.


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