Hurricane Matthew-An Unwelcome Surprise

Dare Center parking lot flooded. With 8" of torrential rains in less than 24 hours, Outer Banks roads and parking lots experienced unprecedented flooding.
Dare Center parking lot flooded. With 8″ of torrential rains from Hurricane Matthew in less than 24 hours, Outer Banks roads and parking lots experienced unprecedented flooding.

Hurricane Matthew was an unwelcome and unpleasant surprise. We knew it was going to rain a lot; we knew the winds were going to be strong, but the Outer Banks seemed to get more than expected.

Perhaps most surprising is that the forecast track of Matthew changed at the last moment. From Wednesday through Saturday morning, the National Hurricane Center was predicting the storm would curve out to sea south of the Outer Banks, head south and then curl back toward Florida losing strength as it did so.

On Saturday the forecast abruptly changed to an ENE track and instead of losing strength, Matthew became an extratropical storm and maintained it’s hurricane force winds.

We’re still not sure what the official winds were, but there are some reports clocking wind speeds between 65-70 mph—and there were certainly stronger gusts than that.

With 8” of rain falling in 24 hours, there is flooding and a lot of standing water on roadways. The Beach Road especially seems hard hit and sections of downtown Manteo were flooded this morning. NCDOT is also reporting that sections of NC12 in Corolla are flooded.

Hoping to keep people off unsafe roads and give county officials a chance to start assessing damage, Dare County issued a 7:00 p.m. curfew tonight. The curfew will be lifted at 7:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. Access to the county is also restricted to residents and property owners. Corolla residents and property owners will also be allowed access.

There is no access to Hatteras Island right now. This afternoon, National Park Service Rangers were turning traffic back at the intersection of Old Oregon Inlet Road and NC12.

We’re still looking over damage in general. For the most part, the Outer Banks seems to have come through the storm pretty well, although a final tally has not been added up yet.  There are some downed trees, some flooding, and some roofs were damaged by the wind. If, however, that is the extent of the damage, the Outer Banks has fared better than our neighbors to the south.