hardworking folks were part of the Hatteras Island Community Emergency
Response Team, or CERT – an all-volunteer organization that serves by
helping out in a storm or other emergency in any way they can.
The organization was founded in 2011 after Hurricane Irene and has been headed ever since by Larry Ogden.
job is to do whatever we’re asked to do,” he says, while taking a break
at the Hatteras Volunteer Fire Department – the temporary home base for
Monday’s operations. “Sometimes we make meals, or help with traffic
control or help with clean-up, like we’re doing today.”
CERT crew is effectively “activated” by a government agency, whether
it’s Dare County Emergency Management, the Dare County police, or local
fire and rescue organizations. Once they are activated and called upon
for help, they can be assigned with any number of tasks that are
essentially instrumental to getting the island back to normal.
the day’s work for the CERT team isn’t pretty, but it’s certainly
appreciated by Hatteras village residents who need help after heavy
storm surge smashed through the village, leaving massive piles of
village and parts of Frisco apparently had the highest soundside
flooding on the island on Saturday and Tropical Storm Hermine pulled
away from the Outer Banks and winds shifted to the west and
winds of about 35 mph with gusts over 60 sent a surge into southern
Hatteras and Ocracoke. The water rose quickly and the height of
the surge took many villagers, who are veterans of many tropical
systems, by surprise. Some folks have reported water levels of 4 or 5
feet above normal -- or more -- which is more than had been forecast by
the National Weather Service.
Hermine’s wake, a number of homes in the village were inundated with
eel grass, which still covers some local yards like a thick, brown,
response to the unexpected pile-up, residents were encouraged to ask
for help with cleaning out flooded storage areas, garages, and eel
grass pile-up by stopping by the Hatteras fire station and signing up
for assistance. From there, residents who called or put their name on a
make-shift dry erase board were attended to by CERT team members who
went to their house and embarked on the messy task of putting
everything back together.
are a total of 70 CERT members from all the villages from Rodanthe to
Hatteras who have had at least 20 hours of training before officially
becoming a part of the CERT crew.
with members from the local VFDs, the rescue squads, the EMS, and
everyday folks who just want to help their community, the end result is
a dedicated crew that can tackle just about anything.
Bolden, who works with the Hatteras Island Rescue Squad Station 35 as
well as the Frisco VFD and CERT, is a prime example of the lengths
these volunteers will go to help the community.
began his Hermine-related work on Saturday morning at 1 a.m. And with
the exception of “a little sleep here and there,” he has been going
started with the Frisco VFD and Station 35 call at 1 a.m. on Saturday
that a tornado had touched down at Hatteras Sands Campground on Eagle
Pass Road in Hatteras village and that structures and people were in
the water. Justin was part of the team that rescued people who had
gotten trapped in two of the little cabins or "houses," which,
according to Justin, included at least two people in the “green house”
and two in the “pink house.”
there, he assisted with setting up a field dressing unit at the Frisco
Campground to help people with injuries and to transfer them to the
medical center in Avon if necessary. He said at least six to 10 people
were addressed and / or treated at the campground after the tornado
hit, but before the backside of the storm storm began to pick up steam.
Saturday morning, as the wind picked up and the waters started to
advance, Justin helped out with securing boats at Teach’s Lair Marina,
to prevent them from coming down on the pilings and causing some
massive structural damage to area businesses and residences. As the
water started to pour over the docks, Justin then went down to a
central watersports shop, to help secure kayaks and other equipment
that was displayed outside.
the sound got deeper and deeper, Justin borrowed a kayak from the
watersports store and began responding to pages and calls by paddling
to the scene, which included a report that an accident had occurred in
Summerplace -- a community that’s a fairly lengthy paddle away -- with
unknown injuries and a stranded vehicle. When he arrived at the scene,
the people were thankfully OK and out of the vehicle.
After the waters subsided, Justin went on to help with clean-up operations, which he was still doing on Monday.
of Monday afternoon, he’s wasn’t sure how much sleep he had since the
first page early on Saturday morning. But he also wasn’t slowing down
his efforts at all during the day’s lengthy clean-ups.
able bodied families don’t call for help – they can do it themselves,”
he says. “We’re helping the people who really need it, and that’s
has certainly emerged as one of the most celebrated helpers in Hatteras
village after the storm, but he is by no means the only one.
librarian Helen Hudson got to the village to help with the massive
clean-up by hitchhiking from Frisco, since she was unable to drive
through the overwash that still persists on the edge of the town.
Wearing waders and carrying a bottle of water, she assisted with the
clean-up until all the homes were done before catching a ride back
Alice Mayo, who was born and raised in Hatteras village, also helped out
throughout the day from the CERT operations’ start at 10 a.m.
the day, she went to roughly a half dozen houses to help move
appliances, furnishings, and who-knows-how-many piles of seaweed and
don’t think anyone expected this,” she says while driving through areas
of Hatteras village where the eel grass piles are nearly as tall as the
“It was forecast to be 1-3 feet above normal, so this was surprising,” she said.
her Labor Day holiday, she spent her time cleaning out a downstairs
shed, removing an old washer / dryer that had gotten flooded, removing
tree limbs and other debris, and restoring heavy flower pots to their
not how most people would spend a holiday to be sure, but like all CERT
volunteers, the rewards are well worth the effort – especially if you
know your neighbors, like Rosa or “Rosie” does.
the most part, you know who needs help right away and who to contact,”
she says. “You know where to go…. And it’s just so awesome that they’ve
asked us for help. It’s neighbors helping neighbors, and it’s an
Larry Ogden has the same feeling.
very rewarding. People really appreciate what you do,” he says. “When
people know you care, and you’re there to help, they appreciate it a
lot – and more so from people on the island, than from people coming
from outside the island.”
CERT crew worked off the list of homes that needed help for the better
part of Monday morning and Monday afternoon. The crew included Hatteras
villagers, as well as folks from Frisco, Buxton, Avon, and the
tri-villages, who may not have known the families in need, but who
clearly understood the importance of reciprocal help in a small
community like Hatteras Island.
there was some significant overwash in north Buxton during this
morning's high tide that covered Highway 12 near the motels and flooded
side streets off Old Lighthouse Road.
National Weather Service in Newport/Morehead City has cancelled the
High Surf Advisory and Coastal Flood Advisory that had been in effect
until 8 p.m. this evening. The Weather Service still warns beach-goers
that there will be a high threat of rip currents on area beaches
through Tuesday, especially from Cape Hatteras north.
with the exception of some heavily flooded patches of Highway
12 in and around Hatteras village, it was more or less business
as usual for beach-goers and vacationers.
beach accesses, including the Frisco Bathhouse and Sandy Bay just
outside Hatteras village were packed with vehicles, and although very
few people were heading into the rough waters, the shoreline was
brimming with photographers and families who were taking advantage of
the post-storm beachcombing.
readily popped up over the dunes, checking out the powerful waves,
while a few brave kiteboarders skimmed across the water like it was a
regular day at the beach.
the exception of the giant surf, it was a typical Labor Day scene on
the outskirts of Hatteras village. And while the beach scene got slowly
and naturally back to normal, the CERT crew ensured the rest of the
village would soon be “back to normal too.”
had a really good group here today -- almost 30 volunteers… and
[they’ve] done a lot of good work,” says Larry. “…Their efforts
definitely make a difference.”
is a non-profit 501c3, and donations are always accepted. Visitors can
send in donations to CERT, P.O. Box 35, Avon, NC 27915.
In addition, CERT is always looking for new volunteers and holds an
annual training class for folks who want to sign up. The class is
scheduled in the fall or spring, depending on storms. A HAM radio
license operator class is also on the horizon, which is a valuable part
of storm response – especially when power and communications go out.
Hatteras and Ocracoke are cleaning up, opening up
Hermine moves offshore, leaves behind high winds, soundside flooding....WITH SLIDE SHOW
Hermine forecast to intensify offshore, increasing surge threat
UPDATE: Tropical storm warning posted for entire N.C. coast
Track of Hermine shifts back toward Outer Banks
Second tropical system in a week forecast for Hatteras, Ocracoke