September 8, 2016

Dare County updates damage estimate from Hermine


Dare County has updated its preliminary estimate of damage from Tropical Storm Hermine, which passed over the Outer Banks on Saturday morning, Sept. 3.

The storm spun up a tornado in a Hatteras village campground before it moved offshore and the wind increased to a sustained mid-30s with gusts as high as 80 mph, which was measured at the Alligator River Bridge, where a truck driver whose rig blew over became one of the storm's fatalities.

On Hatteras Island, winds were sustained in the mid-30s with gusts over 60 mph.  The north winds brought a storm surge in from the Pamlico Sound which caused serious flooding in the southern villages of the island, especially Frisco and Hatteras.

Today's updated preliminary damage estimate is $5.4 million, up from the very preliminary total of $2.55 million, which was presented to the Board of Commissioners at its Tuesday meeting.

Since Tuesday, county crews have reached more areas, especially in Hatteras village, and accounted for Monday high tides, which caused ocean overwash that damaged some properties in north Buxton.

Even today, the county's damage assessment crews are still in the field, and the number could increase if additional damage is discovered.

County manager Bobby Outten explained today that the preliminary damage estimates are not as much to nail down every single dollar in damage to properties in the county as it is to see if the damage will reach the magic number of about $13 million, which is when the county could qualify for FEMA funds for cleanup and repairs.

It doesn't seem, he said, that the county's damage will reach that level.

The updated estimate reports damage at 946 properties in the county, as compared to the 665 that were reported as damaged on Tuesday.

The properties include five in unincorporated Dare County for a total of $115,060, 663 in the incorporated towns for a total of $1.1 million, and 278 on Hatteras Island for a total of $4.2 million.

The most significant change in the update is that the number of damaged properties in Hatteras village was increased from seven to 123 once the damage crews were able to get around the village.

On Hatteras Island, the damage to all 278 of the properties was rated as minor.  No homes or businesses were found with major damage, and no properties were considered destroyed or uninhabitable. The report also included damage to docks, bulkheads, and pilings.

Eighteen businesses in Hatteras were considered damaged, including the $20,000 in estimated damage to two cabanas at the Hatteras Sands Campground where the tornado touched down briefly.

The report called the flooding as "significant" in Hatteras village and noted that it resulted in damage to vehicles and personal property that is not assessed in the report.

The total damage in Hatteras village is estimated at $1.9 million.

In Frisco, the number of damaged properties rose to 109 with the addition of four homes, a church, and six businesses. Total is now $1.5 million.

In Buxton, damage was reported to 10 properties -- nine homes and one business -- that were damaged by ocean overwash on Monday. Total damage estimated at $101,810.

In Avon, 31 properties were found to have possible flood damage, mostly in ground-floor enclosures for a total of $402,020.

There were no properties reported damaged in Waves or Salvo.  And five homes were damaged by ocean overwash in Rodanthe.  Damage total is estimated at $115,060.

In the updated report, no properties in Dare County were listed as destroyed.  A house in Southern Shores that had been considered destroyed by downed trees is now listed as uninhabitable..

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