Posted on 11/18/2019

Fierce Nor'Easter Exits the Outer Banks; Hatteras Island Takes the Brunt

Waves top the railing at Jennette's Pier on Sunday 11/17.
Waves top the railing at Jennette's Pier on Sunday 11/17.

The last two days on the Outer Banks have been interesting. Sustained winds somewhere around 40 mph with gusts getting up to 55 or so, that makes for an interesting time.

What is finally moving out to sea is a classic nor'easter. The surf was running at 15' or so, the winds were howling, probably about an inch of rain fell over the past two days. It was not a hurricane, but hurricanes do tend to move faster than nor'easters.

Here on the northern Outer Banks—north of Oregon Inlet—there hasn't been much damage at all. A couple of very short-lived power outages. There was some ocean overwash, but was spotty and not significant.

Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Hatteras Island and we're still waiting to hear from Ocracoke. Although, Ocracoke Village probably did not flood in this event—a northeast wind would not push water into Silver Lake, the beautiful natural harbor the village surrounds.

Although there was some flooding on the north end of Buxton, it's really the roads that seem to be taking a beating. In particular, NC 12 on Hatteras Island.

Pictures have come in from the S Curves north of Rodanthe and they show completely compromised dunes with water flowing across the road to Pamlico Sound. It's difficult to be sure with out a couple of points of reference, but the location of the break in the dune looks a lot like where Hurricane Irene pushed through in 2011.

Thats the same area that NCDOT is currently constructing the Jug Handle Bridge to bypass the S Curves. A 2020 completion date for the bridge is planned.

We have not yet heard how the highway repair work on the north end of Ocracoke Island has gone. NCDOT had hoped to open the north ferry dock on Friday of this week, but that was conditioned on the road repairs being completed. It's possible this storm has pushed those repairs back.

NC 12 is closed right now at the Marc Basnight Bridge. It will probably reopen on Monday.

The beauty and power of nature is always close at hand on the Outer Banks. Experience it in al its majesty with a stay at a Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates home.

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