Hatteras village is still partially inundated with saltwater, with
sections of the road especially difficult to drive through just north
of the village, the central and northern regions of Hatteras Island saw
a drastic reduction in flooding on Monday, and residents had an
opportunity to head outside, survey homes and businesses, and start
fixing, repairing, cleaning, and helping out their neighbors.
On Monday afternoon in north Buxton, Jeff Dawson, the owner of Fatty’s
Restaurant, was hard at work unclogging a drain on the side of Highway
12, as a rush of ocean water that was streaming across the highway near
the Cape Hatteras Motel deposited more debris and foam into the
restaurant's parking lot.
“[Owning and operating] Fatty’s is fun,” he said. “Storm clean-up is not fun.”
The massive effort to de-clog the street drain of seaweed took Jeff and
two local helpers roughly two hours to complete, but was a necessary
move to ensure that the ocean waters and flooding didn’t re-take this
vulnerable section of Highway 12.
“As far as I know, the next closest drain is past The Point
(restaurant). There are a couple drains near the Fessenden Center, but
the ocean doesn’t typically go there,” said Jeff. “If this drain is
clogged, then the waters flow all the way to the Red Drum, to Diamond
Shoals, and to the old Comfort Inn (Hatteras Island Inn), so it’s
extremely important to keep this drain open.”
While unclogging the drain in the midst of an infusion of foam and
saltwater was an important task, it certainly wasn’t the only thing
Jeff and his crew had been working on that day.
“We had just settled down from working on our own [homes] when we got a
call that the walk-in [refrigerator] had collapsed,” said Sean
Finneran, a friend of Jeff’s who owns a local landscaping business, and
who was helping him the with storm clean-up.
And, in addition to a ruined walk-in and air-conditioning units, Jeff
also had to start planning how to extract and move the restaurant’s
dumpster, which had floated from Fatty’s “way down the road” along
“I think it wins the world record for the furthest a dumpster has ever traveled,” he said.
“We’ve been working all day – and really all weekend. I don’t even know
what day it is,” said Sean. “But the real fun starts when everything
dries out, and [we] can start going to properties and really start
Other businesses in the surrounding area were in various stages of clean-up, depending on the amount of damage.
An employee at neighboring Dillon’s Corner in Buxton was in the process
of pressure washing the exterior and was grateful that the damage
“There was no real damage inside – just damage to the ice machine, the
pumps, and the [accumulation of] debris and sand and everything else
that was left behind,” said Rob Harris.
“There was no water in our gas, which is good – although we still have
an ice machine that made its way across the street to Red Drum that we
have to get.”
The Red Drum Market, which is also in the vulnerable vicinity, was open
for business, and despite a few empty coolers and small stack of
sandbags located outside, the interior looked clean and ready for
“We got about a foot of water inside, but we have it cleaned up now,”
said one Red Drum market employee. “Practice makes perfect.”
At high tide about mid-afternoon, ocean waters were still rushing
across Highway 12 in northern Buxton and pools of standing water
caused slow traffic in places, the initial clean-up efforts were well
At around 4:30 p.m., the crew outside of Fatty’s finally extracted an
apparently lynchpin clump of grass, and water started rushing into the
drain from the middle of the highway at a gushing pace.
The crew, which had been digging into the drain with rakes and shovels for roughly two hours, took a brief minute to celebrate.
“See all that grass right there?” asked Jeff, pointing to a small
mountain of seaweed. “We took all of that out of the drain – and now
that it’s working again, [I’ll consider that] a great accomplishment.”
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