arthur has left the obx!
Hurricane Arthur has come and gone and here on the Outer Banks there is a huge sigh of relief. Although a category 2 storm, initial reports of damage are minimal, although there are some impacts, including the blow to local business’ bottom lines, especially on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands, where access is not allowed or currently restricted. We’ve included a map of the area for those who aren’t as familiar with the OBX as we are!
First the good news.
The northern Outer Banks, Nags Head and north, did not appear to suffer any significant damage. All roads are open, the beaches seem to have come through in fine fashion and except for some sound side flooding, Arthur seems to have been kind to the folks north of Oregon Inlet.
Downtown Manteo is the exception to the rule. There was significant sound side flooding and some—but by no means all—downtown businesses were flooded. As an example, the Dare County Arts Council in the old Courthouse had water on its porch but no water made its way into the gallery, and the Pioneer Theatre is open tonight (and showing Xmen).
Another touch of good news, the belfry that was just returned to the top of the Courthouse handled Arthur’s winds in fine fashion.
There appears to be relatively small damage on Hatteras Island itself. Although the Tri-Villages of Rodanthe, Salvo and Waves saw significant sound side flooding, the waters had mostly receded by mid-morning. The motels in Buxton seemed to have gotten a pass this go round, with little to no ocean overwash. However, there is no access to either Hatteras Island or Ocracoke at this time.
NC12, the only land link with Hatteras, suffered significant damage just north of the temporary bridge in Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. The images on NCDOT’s Facebook page seem to indicate the roadbed is intact although the road surface is impassable.
Governor McCrory indicated he felt NC12 could be reopened by Saturday evening according to published reports. However, assessments of the Bonner Bridge that crosses Oregon Inlet cannot be completed until the seas are calmer. Until that assessment is completed, there will be no access to Hatteras Island via NC12.
Ocracoke is still without power, with 30 electrical poles broken. It appears there are some trees down, but surprisingly little flooding occurred. The Ocracoke Current is reporting that power restoration for Ocracoke Island is projected for Sunday night. Tideland EMC hopes to begin powering 1/3 of Ocracoke via generator power around 3pm this afternoon, on a rotation schedule. Ocracoke ferries running to Swan Quarter and Cedar Island have resumed, with the tolls waived to those leaving. Hyde County has determined that only critical infrastructure needs will be allowed back on the island today, returning residents will be allowed back tomorrow, and visitors may be allowed back on Sunday.
A quick note on National Park Service facilities from the Dare County Emergency Management Joint Information Center: “All NPS facilities remain closed this morning until assessments are completed, communications are checked and safety concerns are eliminated or resolved.”
The overall view of Arthur’s impact on the Outer Banks is that the physical damage was light. We have not received any reports of structural damage, although flood cleanup is a dirty and difficult task. And it remains to be seen how the storm has impacted our tourist economy. Inconvenient, yes! Surprising, yes, as no one can recall a hurricane impacting the Outer Banks this early in the year and Arthur may be a record breaker in that arena—but not a game changer for most sturdy Outer Bankers.