Local News
Weather Service issues winter weather advisory for the Outer Banks

Even as an occasional daffodil adds color to a dreary brown landscape battered by the endless winter, we are reminded that it's not over yet. About noon, in what we hope is winter's last gasp, temperatures dropped 10 degrees in 10 minutes and about 20 degrees in an hour, leaving islanders marveling at car windows that immediately fogged over.

Temperatures will continue to drop this afternoon, and the National Weather Service in Newport, N.C., has issued a winter weather advisory for the Outer Banks from 6 p.m. this evening until 10 a.m. tomorrow. Rain is forecast for this evening and overnight. 
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Turn your clocks ahead and check smoke alarms this weekend

Daylight saving time officially begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 8, so move your clocks ahead one hour before you go to bed Saturday  night.

And as you prepare to spring forward with daylight saving time and change the time on clocks around your home, the Dare County Fire Marshal’s Office reminds you to take a few extra minutes to ensure your smoke alarms are working properly and change the batteries.
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Public meeting on oil and gas leasing will be March 16 in KDH

In response to requests from citizens, organizations and elected officials, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has added a public scoping meeting on the Outer Banks about the federal government's proposal to conduct an oil and gas lease sale off the East Coast, including North Carolina.
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After marathon, divisive meeting, board commits funds to inlet dredging

What started as weighing in on the pros and cons of using occupancy taxes to fund dredging of severely shoaled Oregon Inlet at Monday’s marathon Dare County Board of Commissioners meeting quickly devolved to a fishing community versus business community contest that pitted the value of Oregon Inlet against  beach nourishment.   

Residents, public officials, and representatives of both camps came out in force to give their opinion on draft legislation that would allow the board to divert occupancy tax revenue, including funds earmarked for beach nourishment, to pay for dredging the inlet, creating an uneasy divide in the packed audience.  
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Legislative Update: Lawmakers made hay while the sun was shining

Snow, sleet, rain and freezing temperatures reduced work time in the General Assembly this week, but there was still some action on existing bills and more were filed.

Little legislative action drew more attention than the Senate's passage of Senate Bill 2, introduced by Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger. The bill, if made into law, allows magistrates to recuse themselves from performing marriage ceremonies based on “sincerely held religious beliefs.” Prompted by the legalization of gay marriage, Berger said in a release that he introduced the legislation because magistrates were quitting because they did not want to perform gay weddings.
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Tri-villages zoning initiative begins with March 5 workshop

A March 5 workshop in Rodanthe is the first step in the process of use-specific zoning for the villages of Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo. The Dare County Planning Board and the staff of the Planning Department will host the workshop from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo Community Building.

"The workshop will be in an open-house format to allow citizens and property owners to interact with the Planning Board and staff in an informal setting," according to a news release.

Residents and non-resident property owners are invited to attend to discuss their ideas and make comments and suggestions on the future of the tri-villages. The staff will also provide an overview of how the zoning process works.  
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Cold, wet rain is forecast for Hatteras and Ocracoke

The National Weather Service has backed off its wintry forecast for the southern Outer Banks, including Hatteras and Ocracoke, tonight and tomorrow as the third coastal storm in a week sweeps past the area, bringing mostly liquid precipitation.

The winter storm watch issued yesterday afternoon was cancelled earlier today and replaced with a winter storm advisory for the Outer Banks. The advisory is in effect from 7 p.m. this evening until 10 a.m. tomorrow morning.  
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Winter Wonderland on the islands is washing away...WITH SLIDE SHOWS

The second coastal storm of the week left about 2 inches of snow on Hatteras and Ocracoke before it turned to freezing rain late this afternoon and began washing away the white stuff.

However, the third coastal storm this week -- the first brought only cold rain and wind on Monday -- is expected to roll up the coast tomorrow night, bringing more frozen precipitation. And the islands are getting ready for a one-two punch of winter weather, somewhat unusual for this time of year. 
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Frigid Siberian air grips the islands...WITH SLIDE SHOW

Heat pumps have been pumping non-stop on Hatteras and Ocracoke for the past few days as frigid air has poured into the southern U.S. According to the weather forecasters, this is not just your normal Arctic cold -- it's cold all the way from Siberia.

The cold weather has set record low temperatures on the islands and a record high for winter power usage as we all try to stay warm.
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Passenger ferry test runs scheduled for May 4 and 5

 As part of its ongoing feasibility study on passenger ferry service, the North Carolina Department of Transportation has signed an agreement with Bay State Cruise Company to charter the M/V Provincetown III for test runs of a potential passenger ferry route between Hatteras and Ocracoke village on May 4-5.
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Unfunded U.S. 64 project leaves aging bridge hanging

While many people rejoiced that the proposed Mid-Currituck Bridge was included in North Carolina’s draft 10-year transportation plan, not much griping has been heard about the U.S. 64 project being left out.

But some are worried that the 55-year old bridge over Alligator River, which is part of the now unfunded U.S. 64 road project, will continue to deteriorate. “That bridge should be looked at as a separate project,” said David Clegg, the Tyrrell County manager.  
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Gas pricing on Hatteras Island is topic of radio interview...WITH AUDIO

Bryan Perry, owner of Frisco Shopping Center and Frisco Rod & Gun, where he sells, among other things, gasoline, was the guest on this week's edition of "To the Point" on Radio Hatteras.

In the interview, Perry, who has been selling gas at the store since 1975, gives some straightforward answers to questions about how he determines the price of gas at his pumps and how much profit he makes on it. 
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High winds, heavy seas pound Outer Banks, but little damage reported....WITH SLIDE SHOW

High winds and heavy seas from a coastal storm pounded the Outer Banks for 24 hours -- from Tuesday morning until early this morning -- but little damage and little or no ocean overwash or soundside flooding was reported.

The National Weather Service's official automated observation site on Hatteras at Billy Mitchell Airport measured a top wind gust of 49 mph from the north, but official and unofficial wind gauges elsewhere on the Outer Banks and on Hatteras put the top winds  much higher.  
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Diamond Shoals buoy is victim of coastal storm

The coastal storm that brought high winds to the Outer Banks and coastal waters yesterday has cut the Diamond Shoals buoy adrift. According to the National Weather Service in Newport, N.C., the buoy was cut loose from its moorings on Thursday, Feb. 5, and is still adrift in the Gulf Stream currents.  
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UPDATE: Appeals Court grants request for mediation

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit today granted a request by all of the parties involved in the legal wrangling over replacing the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge for the assistance of a mediator in their effort to negotiate a settlement in the case.
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Parties in Bonner Bridge lawsuit ask Appeals Court for mediation

The parties involved in the long legal battle over the North Carolina Department of Transportation's plan to replace the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge have asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit for the assistance of a mediator in their effort to negotiate a settlement in the case.

In a joint motion filed on Monday, Feb. 9, at the Appeals Court in Richmond, Va., the plaintiffs, defendants, and defendant-intervenor said that the parties in the case have made "substantial progress toward settlement" but feel that the assistance of a mediator "will be helpful, perhaps essential" in resolving the remaining issues.
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Sheriff says facts do not back up cat abuse charges

In a news release, Dare County Sheriff Doug Doughtie addressed charges of cat abuse that have been made in online petitions that have been attracting attention on the Internet.

The petitions allege multiple cases of animal abuse at a feral cat colony on Hatteras Island in the village of Frisco. The petitions also charge that the county, the sheriff and his deputies, the state, and the governor are ignoring complaints about the abuse.
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Army Corps allots another $1.2 million for Oregon Inlet dredging

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has allotted another $1.2 million for dredging of the badly shoaled Oregon Inlet.

The announcement of the additional funds was made today by U.S. Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C. Last month, Jones wrote a letter to Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Jo-Ellen Darcy and Lt. General Thomas P. Bostick at the Army Corps of Engineers and explained that in the past, the inlet received regular federal maintenance that kept it a passable channel for vessels. 
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Coast Guard rescues Pinterest investor and crew from sailboat off Hatteras....WITH VIDEO

The U.S. Coast Guard made international news this weekend with the Friday rescue of five people from a disabled sailboat about 220 miles off Hatteras.

One of those rescued has been reported by national and international media as prominent millionaire Brian Cohen, an original investor in Pinterest.  Some of the other four rescued were said to be members of his family.
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Dare County says Attorney General will investigate Outer Banks gas prices

Dare County announced today that the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office has launched an investigation into high gas prices along the Outer Banks, as formally requested by the county Board of Commissioners last week.
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Bonner Bridge down to one lane for concrete repairs

Starting Wednesday, Jan. 28, weather permitting, the North Carolina Department of Transportation will close a section of one lane of the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge on Highway 12 over the Oregon Inlet.

The lane closure will enable crews with Precon Marine Inc. of Chesapeake, Va. to begin repairs to the concrete along the underside of the bridge deck. The project is expected to be complete by mid-June.  
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UPDATE: Dredging, re-marking channel will aid boaters in Hatteras Inlet

The federal dredge Merritt is scheduled to arrive at sand-clogged Hatteras Inlet on Saturday, although there’s a good chance that the project may be delayed by a strong, fast-moving coastal low. 

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says that the Merritt has been scheduled to work a half-day on Saturday and all of Sunday, followed by a layover of three days. Work would then resume on Jan. 29 and continue through Feb. 4. The dredge will be primarily focused on clearing sand between buoys 14 and 15 in the Rollinson Channel, the portion of the former “short channel” still used on ferry runs between Hatteras and Ocracoke islands.  
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Hatteras Inlet faring poorly also, but isn't viewed yet as dire

Hatteras Inlet is faring nearly as poorly as its counterpart to the north, with similarly difficult-to-resolve shoaling issues. But it is not yet viewed as an equally dire situation.

“Hatteras Inlet has a problem,” said Hatteras charter boat captain Ernie Foster. “Oregon Inlet has a disaster.”  
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