The impacts of Hurricane Matthew and
the status of the Dare County's recovery from the storm dominated
much of the meeting of the Board of Commissioners on Monday evening,
"My heart breaks for all those
from Duck to Hatteras village who suffered damage in the storm,"
said Commissioner Bob Woodard during his chairman's remarks at the
beginning of the meeting.
He said he was grateful for how much
the county has been able to help storm victims and noted that the
county manager and staff were working with state and federal agencies
to get more help.
On his trips to Hatteras Island,
especially Hatteras village, with vice-chairman Wally Overman and
county manager Bobby Outten, Woodard said he has been particularly
impressed with how hard folks are working to "help their
neighbors get through this."
Woodard then turned the meeting over to
Outten to make more comments on Hurricane Matthew.
Outten began by talking about the days
leading up to the storm's devastating brush with Dare County on the
weekend of Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 8-9 when the northern areas of
the county had flooding rains, southern Hatteras had record or
near-record storm surge, and the entire county had high winds up to
about 80 mph.
He noted that the county control group,
which manages emergencies such as hurricanes, declared a state of
emergency on Tuesday, Oct. 4, the day that the National Weather
Service advised them that a hurricane was possible on the Outer Banks
over the weekend.
The next day, Outten said, the control
group was told that Matthew's track "would be well offshore."
On Thursday, Outten noted, there were no watches or warnings. It
wasn't until Friday morning, he said, that the forecast brought the
storm closer and that a warning -- a tropical storm warning, not a
hurricane warning -- was issued for the area.
"In the past," Outten said,
"there has not been an evacuation for a tropical storm warning."
He said by the time the forecast began
looking more threatening on Friday, the program that county manager
Drew Pearson uses to estimate the amount of time needed to evacuate
the county showed that an evacuation could not be accomplished during
daylight hours and before conditions deteriorated.
Instead, he said, the control group
used "strong messaging" to urge visitors to leave early or
to postpone travel until after conditions improved.
"We were expecting only 35 to 45
mph winds," he added.
Outten said that Frisco and Hatteras
villages were the hardest hit areas of the county, and that
countywide damage estimates are now up to $52.3 million with most of
it in those two villages. He noted that the total is considerably
less than the $170 million in damage caused by Hurricane Isabel in
2003, which also devastated Hatteras village.
Outten thanked and praised many who
have been involved with recovery including the "amazing"
volunteer fire departments, the "awesome" law enforcement
officers, the N.C. Department of Transportation, the Dare County
staff, U.S. Coast Guard, the Salvation Army, the United Methodist
Men, the electric utilities.
"This is not over," Outten
said, adding that the recovery stage will last much longer.
After Outten's remarks, the floor was
opened up for public comment.
Steve House, a Republican candidate for
county commissioner, talked about the storm, which he said was
"bigger than anticipated," and the recovery. He said he had
visited Hatteras village and asked that the commissioners honor Mary
Ellon Ballance for "exemplary citizenship" for her work
organizing aid for hurricane victims in the village.
House also asked that the commissioners
move their second meeting in November to Hatteras Island, so more
islanders could attend the meeting.
After House spoke, the commissioners
made both suggestions into the form of a motion and passed both
The Nov. 21 meeting of the board will
be at 5 p.m. on Hatteras Island, probably at the Fessenden Center.
Commissioner Allen Burrus of Hatteras
village voted for both motions but did note "that it's hard to
single one person out."
"I do commend what Mary Ellon
has done," he said, adding that a lot of other people
have worked hard.
The next speaker, Rosemarie Doshier, a
Democratic candidate for county commissioner, said that she was at
the meeting to remind the board that East Lake does not get the
attention it needs from the county and did not again in Hurricane
Matthew. People had water in their houses and lost cars, she said,
adding that U.S. Highway 64 was flooded in the very western area just
before the Alligator River Bridge.
Two Hatteras islanders, both from
Salvo, spoke during public comment from the Fessenden Center --
Elaine Hooper, who works in real estate management, and her father,
Jimmy Hooper, the chief of the Salvo Volunteer Fire Department.
Elaine Hooper said that the
commissioners had been to Hatteras village and seen the devastation
and should not have allowed visitors into the area last Saturday. She
also said that given the information she received, she did not think
it was true that there was not enough time for an evacuation.
"The entire system of issuing
evacuations is broken and needs to be fixed," she said. "The
board need to stop being reactive and start being proactive."
Her father was even more direct.
"The control group needs to get
revamped," he said. "Who represents Hatteras Island? No
The group, he said, needs
representation not just from the board chairman and the town mayors
but also from Hatteras Island and East Lake and Stumpy Point.
Hooper said the telephone conference
between first chiefs and emergency management were "a waste of
"It's time to put politics aside,"
UPDATED DAMAGE ESTIMATES
County manager Outten shared the
updated preliminary damage estimates with the board.
The estimate has grown from $42.6
million on Thursday, Oct. 13, to $52.3 million on Monday, Oct. 17.
The countywide total is 4,546
properties impacted by the storm. Of that total 407 had minor damage
and 294 had major damage and six were .
Much of that, said county assessor
Greta Skeen, was because damage estimators visited Hatteras village
on Monday, Oct. 10, the day after the storm, and did not get back
there until Friday, Oct. 14.
Most of the updated estimates were in
Hatteras village, where the damage estimate increased by almost $10
million -- from $12.5 million to $21 million.
Hatteras Island continued to have the
highest preliminary damage figure in the county-- $32.6 million, up
from $23 million. Properties on Hatteras also suffered the most
damage in Tropical Storm Hermine on Sept. 3.
In the update, a total of 796
structures were impacted on Hatteras Island. Twenty-eight received
minor damage, 243 had major damage, and three were destroyed.
The areas with the highest
concentration of properties suffering major damage were in Frisco and
HATTERAS VILLAGE. A significant
number of properties suffered major damage from severe soundside
flooding, and flooding from excessive rainfall. Water levels in some
living areas of houses were reported at 5 feet and above. Most
commercial properties suffered major flood damage. Some marinas
suffered major damage to their infrastructures. In Hatteras village,
746 total properties were affected. Eleven have minor damage and 179
have major damage, and two were destroyed. The preliminary total
amount of damage is $21 million.
FRISCO. Properties also were
significantly affected by soundside flooding and excessive rainfall
in some areas. One residence in Brigand's Bay in Frisco -- on the
corner of Buccaneer Drive and Freebooter -- was destroyed by fire
that the fire departments could not reach because of the high water
levels. Another residence suffered major damage from a basement wall
collapse. In Frisco, 378 properties were impacted. Fifty-seven have
major damage and one was destroyed. The revised preliminary
damage estimate is $8.12 million.
BUXTON. The village had minor
flooding from ocean overwash and minor flooding on other areas from
storm surge, rainfall, and wind. In Buxton, 54 properties were
affected. One had minor damage and six had major damage. Preliminary
total damage is $1.2 million.
AVON. Properties suffered minor
damage from flooding and wind. In the village, 40 properties were
affected and 15 had minor damage for a total of 55 properties with a
revised preliminary damage total of $1.6 million.
SALVO. Eight properties were
affected for a total of $257,660.
WAVES. One property was affected
for a total of $6,310.
RODANTHE. Twenty properties were
affected, and one had minor damage. Revised preliminary damage total
In the unincorporated areas of Dare
County, most properties were affected by heavy rains, high winds,
falling trees, and flooding. In these areas, 95 properties had minor
damage and 38 had major damage with a total of 3,416 properties
impacted. Revised preliminary damage in unincorporated Dare is
estimated at $8.22 million.
In Dare County's six incorporated
towns, properties were damaged by high winds, flooding rainfall,
falling trees. Manteo was saw damage from storm surge.
The preliminary damage total in the
towns is $11.4 million. A total of 3,115 structures were affected --
284 had minor damage and 14 had major damage, and three were
destroyed for a total of 3,416.
The report also notes that the storm
also resulted in damage to personal property, including campers,
trailers, boats, and motor vehicles that have
not been collected or included. In some cases, damage to
waterfront accessory structures, such as bulkheads, piers, and docks
has not been included.
Click here to see the
preliminary damage estimate report.
County is now included in the federal government’s designation for
public assistance and individual assistance.
expenses includes such items as debris collection, overtime for
employees, and extra services and/or equipment or supplies.
assistance is available to homeowners, renters and business owners in
Dare County who suffered damage during Hurricane Matthew. They are
urged to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency
(FEMA), as they may be eligible for disaster assistance.
may include grants for temporary housing, rental assistance, and home
repairs, and for other serious disaster-related needs, such as
repairing or replacing damaged or destroyed personal property, and
medical and dental expenses.
said Dare County has not been assigned FEMA staff representatives
yet, perhaps because the flooding damage in eastern North Carolina is
still so widespread and ongoing.
hopes that will happen soon, and he hopes FEMA will open two offices
in Dare County -- one north of Oregon Inlet and one on Hatteras
Island. The county has offered FEMA space for the two offices --
hopefully to make setting up the services easier and faster.
residents who want to get their FEMA assistance underway can do it
online or by phone -- https://www.disasterassistance.gov/
or call 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585.
regarding availability of local disaster recovery centers will be
provided as details are received.
of unincorporated Dare County should be getting information soon on
storm debris pickup.
County can get federal FEMA assistance for debris pickup by
contractor TAG Grinding Services of Marietta, Ga., which estimates
that the total for the services will be about $1.7 million.
pickup will begin on Thursday or Friday, Oct. 20 or 21. Dare County
is expected to distribute a news release, perhaps tomorrow, with
details of when the pickup will start, where it will start, and the
schedule of the first and second passes through neighborhoods.
should get their debris out in the state right-of-way as soon as
possible, but there will be more time after the first pass by TAG.
said the staging area for the debris collected on Hatteras will be
either the old Coast Guard base in Buxton or the Salvo Day Use Area,
both properties owned by the National Park Service.
Dare has FEMA approval only for debris collection on state-maintained
public roads that are not in gated communities. Outten is hopeful
that private roads in the county will also be included, but FEMA has
not confirmed that yet.
way or the other, we'll get it all up," he said.
it is known whether debris on any private roads or areas in the
county will be covered by FEMA, all storm-generated debris must be
placed on a public street on the public right-of-way.
should separate the debris as follows:
Whole trees, tree stumps, tree branches, tree trunks and other
and demolition debris.
Damaged components of buildings and structure, such as lumber and
wood, wall board, glass, metal, roofing materials, tile,
furnishings, and fixtures.
Materials that are ignitable, reactive, toxic or corrosive, such as
paints, cleaners, pesticides, etc.
Refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, heat pumps, ovens,
ranges, washing machines, clothes dryers and water heaters.
Computers, televisions, office electronic equipment, etc.
loose debris will be collected, bagged debris should not be placed on
the public right-of-way.