January 4, 2018

Snow and Soundside Flooding Create a Bizarre
Island Landscape; Friday Closures Announced


Video by Ruth Fordon
Post-storm sledding, Ocracoke-style.

Thursday presented an unusual landscape on Hatteras and Ocracoke islands, as residents woke up to soundside flooding, snow, ice, and most commonly, a combination of all of the above.

Soundside flooding peaked in the early hours of Thursday morning in Hatteras village, Frisco, and Avon, but was starting to recede for most affected areas by Thursday afternoon.

Winds are forecasted to remain fairly high in the 20-25 mph range throughout the night and into Friday, with a continued west-northwest direction. A gale warning remains in effect for coastal waters until 7 a.m. on Friday, while a Coastal Flood Advisory and High Surf Advisory also remain in effect until 10 a.m. on Friday.

The snowfall has subsided, but freezing temperatures throughout the weekend may lead to icing and treacherous road conditions. Islanders are advised to continue to use caution and avoid travel when possible until the wintery conditions diminish.

Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative worked throughout the day in challenging conditions to restore power to scattered areas throughout Hatteras Island, and particularly in Frisco and Hatteras village. CHEC reported that crews were out in full force on Thursday, and asked that residents continue to report all outages to (866) 511-9862.

Photos and videos began surfacing of the “snowicane” on Thursday morning, as residents ventured outside to check out the frosted landscape. Some folks took their sleds to parking lots with natural inclines or to oceanside sand dunes, and at least a few adventurous surfers headed to the Jetties in Buxton to brave the ice cold temps and rough waves.

Minor damage was reported on the shoulder of N.C. Highway 12 in between Avon and Buxton, but otherwise, the road remained open and relatively passible throughout Thursday.

The storm has been referred to as a “bomb cyclone,” which occurs when the pressure of a storm drops 24 millibars in 24 hours, or at the rate of 1 millibar per hour. The storm has since moved away from the Outer Banks area and is moving up the East Coast to New England.

As of Thursday afternoon, ferry services on Hatteras and Ocracoke islands remained suspended for all routes until it is safe to resume operations. Dare County schools and offices will be closed on Friday, and all criminal and civil court cases have been canceled for Friday as well.

Dare County Public Works has also cancelled garbage collection for Thursday, January 4 and Friday, January 5. Regular collection schedule will resume on Monday, January 8.

For more information, visit www.weather.gov/mhx for weather forecast information, or the National Weather Service office in Newport / Morehead City’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/NWSMoreheadCity/.

The Island Free Press will continue to post updates on the storm as soon as they are available.

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