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obx faces new round of ocean overwash

Under the heading of “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” exhibit A has to be the latest ocean overwash at the S curves just north of Rodanthe.

In September of this year NCDOT working with the US Army Corps of Engineers completed nourishing a two mile stretch of beach to protect the NC12. It was never intended as a permanent solution. Nonetheless the hope was it would last longer than three months.

“The Army Corps has designed the Beach Nourishment Project to last about three years,” NCDOT wrote on their website.

The closure at the S curves is very temporary—the road should reopen later today, but it does raise questions about the effectiveness of nourishment at that particular location. The offshore geography at the S curves actually funnels waves onshore—that’s why the surfing is so good there and it may also be why nourishing the beach at that location is problematic.

What may be a larger issue, or worry, is what is happening in Buxton. Severe overwash is being reported in the town itself with images showing standing ocean water in some streets. Beach front hotels are losing their beach, the beach itself is in retreat and although there are nourishment plans on the books, both US Fish and Wildlife and the National Park Service who own the beach would have to agree to any proposal.

Hotel in Buxton 12/8/14. Source, Hidden Outer Banks Facebook Page.

Hotel in Buxton 12/8/14. Photo courtesy of Jake Dempsey. Thumbnail photo of Buxton by Chad Furlough via Facebook.

This nor’easter that’s winding down has caused significant erosion in Kill Devil Hills and ocean overwash on the northern beaches as well, especially in Kitty Hawk, although there’s been no damage to the beach road so far.

First Street access in KDH. Photo by Roy Edlund, The OBX Beach Bum

First Street access in KDH. Photo by Roy Edlund, The OBX Beach Bum

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