Posted on 3/5/2018

Power of Nor'easter Tosses Container Ship Cargo to Ocean

Ocean overwash in Kitty Hawk, day three of the storm. Ocean overwash in Kitty Hawk, day three of the storm.
Wind and Waves Damage Cargo Ship

The container ship Maersk Shanghai, bound for Charleston, SC lost 70-73 containers 17 miles off Oregon Inlet Saturday night the Coast Guard has reported. That puts into perspective just how powerful the March nor'easter that is pounding the East Coast is.

At the time the containers fell into the sea, according to a Duck Field Research Buoy in the area, seas were running at 24', although there may have been larger waves in the area. The winds at the time were from the north at 40-50 mph.

This is not the first time a container ship has lost its cargo off the Outer Banks. In 2006 a container filled with Doritos fell overboard, much to the delight of local tortilla chip lovers. This time, however, no one knows what's in the containers, or if they will wash up on local beaches.

Nor'easter Slowly Exiting

It's a third day of pounding surf and some soundside flooding here on the Outer Banks. The winds have been holding steady from the NNW for the past few days—which puts us on the backside of the nor'easter. As the winds rotate around the storm center, they move from the northeast to the northwest and at some point they'll shift to the south. Which is not forecast to happen until sometime early Tuesday morning.

Slowly but surely, and not nearly as fast as we hoping, this massive March nor'easter is moving away from the Outer Banks.

Hatteras Island seems to to have really taken a beating with flooding reported from Pamlico Sound overwash and some ocean overwash. The S Curves north of Rodanthe are impassable and vehicle traffic to Hatteras Island is not possible right now.

North of Oregon Inlet, there has been some soundside flooding, especially in Manteo and at times on Colington Road, but it has not been too bad.

After three days of steady pounding and 15' waves we are seeing some ocean overwash. It remains to be seen how well recently nourished beaches will hold up after this first significant test.

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