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storm cleanup begins on the obx

Another coastal storm has passed, and now the cleanup begins.

The Nor’easter that finally lifted out of the Outer Banks has left it’s mark; ocean overwash, debris filled roads, and sand covering the streets that border the sea.

Cleanup in Buxton. Photo WRAL TV, Raleigh.

Cleanup in Buxton. Photo WRAL TV, Raleigh.

Back hoes and road graders are traveling along the north end of the Beach Road in Kitty Hawk, one of the areas most in need of beach nourishment. Dune lines are flattened in some places where the ocean pushed across the road.

The sea is still a churning angry gray color, waves coming to the homes along the shoreline, throwing foam high into the air as they strike the pilings beneath the house.

Back hoe along the Beach Road in Kitty Hawk. Photo, Kip Tabb

Back hoe along the Beach Road in Kitty Hawk. Photo, Kip Tabb

The Beach Road seems level, but driving along after an event like this, the subtle fluctuations of the roadbed become apparent as standing seawater pools in the street a day or two after the event has passed.

The northern Outer Banks got off easy, with just some basic cleanup to contend with.

South of the Bonner Bridge on Hatteras Island, the toll was much greater.

NC12 was closed for a time, the ocean breaching the recently nourished dune line north of Rodanthe and flooding the road at the temporary bridge at New Inlet. NCDOT already has the road reopened, although traffic is limited to one lane in critical areas through today and maybe tomorrow, according to the information they have provided.


NCDOT cleaning up NC12 on Pea Island during the storm. Photo NCDOT.

The worst hit town on the Outer Banks was Buxton where the sea surged through the streets on the north end of town. With wave heights at 10-16’ and the strong northeast wind pushing the ocean to the shore, the result was predictable if unfortunate.
The beach in that area as been in steady retreat for a number of years and is an area the county wants to nourish. The beach itself is owned by the National Park Service and there are ongoing discussions about nourishment for that stretch of beach.

The cleanup is ongoing. It’s one of those remarkable things about the Outer Banks– storms come go–and the backhoes and graders scrape the roads, torn shingles and siding get repaired and soon it’s as though the storm never was. And our OBX way of life, that is so much in rhythm with the sea, resumes its pace.

Story by Kip Tabb

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