For the first time in decades, a Tropical Storm flag was flying over the U.S. Weather Bureau station in Hatteras village – an addition that was made possible due to the recent installation of a coastal warning display tower (weather tower) that was a historical component of the site.
The U.S. Weather Bureau, the predecessor to the modern-day National Weather Service, established several weather stations and observation posts in North Carolina as part of a national network of weather stations throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s. Construction of the weather station in Hatteras was completed in 1901 and the station was commissioned on Jan. 1, 1902.
In the absence of modern early warning systems, weather stations like the one in Hatteras helped predict rough seas and severe weather. Weather observers often had just hours or minutes to warn residents of approaching storms using flags flown from the weather tower, as well as local sirens.
The new weather tower in Hatteras, which was celebrated at a July ceremony, replaces a tower that was removed after it collapsed in 1999 after sustaining damage from Hurricane Dennis.
Several years ago, the Cape Hatteras National Seashore began several initiatives to revive and protect the 1901 U.S. Weather Bureau building, which showed signs of suffering from the effects of the harsh coastal environment. The installation of a new roof, interior and exterior painting, and repairs to wooden handrails and porch decking, helped preserve the integrity of the historic building and provided much-needed protection from the elements. The fabrication and installation of the new weather tower capped off the series of projects at the U.S. Weather Bureau Station.
The U.S. Weather Bureau Station in Hatteras, located at 57190 Kohler Road, operates as a welcome center by the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau through a partnership agreement with Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
Wednesday’s flag was due to the approaching Tropical Storm Idalia. Staff from the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau plan to continue to fly weather condition flags when the building is open to the public.