Coastal counties assess damage from Sandy as residents clean up

Posted October 31, 2012

— State and local authorities are assessing damage from Hurricane Sandy along the North Carolina coast as they try to restore vital links to the barrier islands and return daily life to some sense of normalcy.

Most counties reported no major damage or storm-related injuries, although some roads were flooded, including the U.S. Highway 158 Bypass in Kill Devil Hills and N.C. Highway 12 – a major thoroughfare that runs along the coastline.

NC Highway 12 damage Images: NC Highway 12 damage

Authorities brought in pumps Tuesday to siphon 2 to 3 feet of standing water off a half-mile stretch of the five-lane U.S. 158, and they were able to reopen the highway on Wednesday morning. Nearby business owners were then able to check out damage from Sandy and begin to make repairs.

"We got lucky," said Steve Kiousis, owner of the Stack 'Em High pancake house, as he and his workers carted everything they could move out of the restaurant so they could clean and dry it all out.

"When we were looking at it on Monday, we were, 'Oh my God, I hope it's not as bad as the Halloween (1991) storm,'" Kiousis said.

Next door, Chapel Hill native Alyssa Hannon said she was devastated by the damage to the Outer Banks Children's Museum, which she and her family opened a couple of years ago. Sandy pushed about a foot of water into the building, dousing practically all of the exhibits.

"It was submerged," Hannon said of a boat in the museum. "You can see the water line. ... The boat was completely in the water, and we're not sure if we can salvage it."

Sandy cleanup Dare business owners clean up after Sandy

She expressed confidence that the community would support the museum as it tries to recover from the storm, but she said the future remains cloudy.

"We were planning to expand and get bigger, but it's frustrating because we're not sure what the next step is," she said.

The state Department of Transportation said Sandy left deep sand and debris in areas on N.C. 12 on Pea Island from south of the Bonner Bridge to Rodanthe. Crews also discovered pavement damage on the road on the south side of the temporary bridge over the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge breach.

At Rodanthe, crews found damage to the sandbags placed along N.C. 12 after Hurricane Irene hit the area last year.

"We're making very good progress," Jon Nance, deputy highway administrator, said of DOT's efforts to clear 3 to 4 feet of sand from N.C. 12 on Hatteras Island.

NC Highway 12 damage DOT: Clearing, repairing NC 12 to take weeks, cost $8M

Nance estimated that repairs to the highway will cost $8 million and take three to four weeks to complete.

"We've been very lucky," he said. "We still have a connected roadway."

Hurricane Irene last year punched three holes in N.C. 12 that required extensive repairs, including the installation of the temporary Pea Island bridge.

DOT crews conducted an on-site inspection of the Bonner Bridge, which spans Oregon Inlet and connects Hatteras Island to the mainland on Tuesday. Inspectors planned to examine the water depth around the bridge's support columns on Wednesday and determine how the sand under the bridge has shifted since the storm passed offshore.

Ferry service is currently the only way to move people in and out of the area.

Bodie Lighthouse, Bonner Bridge (Oct. 30) Sky 5 video: Sandy swamps Outer Banks

State officials activated an emergency ferry route Tuesday between Stumpy Point and Rodanthe to assist residents trying to return to Hatteras Island and deliver supplies and emergency equipment. The DOT said a schedule will also be in place to assist Dare County with re-entry Wednesday, but visitors will not be allowed to get onto the island.

Ferry routes on Pamlico Sound, including those to Ocracoke Island, returned to their normal schedules Wednesday, and the DOT also resumed limited operations of the ferry linking Hatteras and Ocracoke islands.

Currituck County Emergency Management spokesman Randall Edwards said most of the roads in his county were passable. In Carteret County, Emergency Management spokeswoman Joann Smith said there was standing water on some roads, and Hyde County also reported no homes were flooded.

In other counties, emergency management officials are still assessing the damage.

Attorney General Roy Cooper warned people to be wary of potential scams in Sandy's wake, especially from people collecting money for relief efforts.

“The lowest of the low use catastrophes like this to line their own pockets,” Cooper said in a statement. “Don’t let phony charities divert your donations from those who really need our help.”


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  • JustAName Nov 1, 2012

    "No "private business" insurance company will cover flood damage anywhere! Only option is federal flood insurance. Spare me the noble, poor "private business" being foirced to compete" - sckarbog

    If you build on a shifting sand bar, you accept the consequences. If you won't pay for higher insurance premiums to have your house built on sand, then rebuild your house from scratch. $750k+ houses built on the beach do not have my sympathy. Nobody is forcing anyone to live on the coast or in flood plains.

  • LL4U Nov 1, 2012

    WHAT IF the Army Corp of Engineers were to build a temporary road like they use in the military - it could be moved whenever necessary which is every time there is a nor'easter or hurricane or other storm, . . . .guess not, that makes way too much logical sense! Just keep spending, spending, spending!!!!!

  • Blaster Nov 1, 2012

    Guess what. Coastal (i.e., w/in 75 miles of the coast) have NO CHOICE but to buy into the state sponsored plan. Insurance companies (ALL insurance companies) have completely dropped all coverage for "named windstorms". There is no other option. Know what you're talking about before opening one's mouth... keyboard commando! But hey, shouldn't be allowed to rebuild anyway. Too much risk and "they" should no better, right?. Go tell that one to NYC, Ocean City MD, Atlantic City NJ, New Orleans La. For that matter entire coatal US. Why stop there genius. Evacuate California, Insurance companies will not pay for earthquake damage and we all know the big one is just a matter of time. There is a state sponsored earthquake plan as "private business" wants no part. Same for tornado coverage in the midwest. No "private business" insurance company will cover flood damage anywhere! Only option is federal flood insurance. Spare me the noble, poor "private business" being foirced to compe

  • mrsgaskill Nov 1, 2012

    "Time to let Mother Nature reclaim the Outer Banks!

    Yes let's get rid of the greatest beaches in the country. You are more than welcome not to visit it is better off without more tourists anyway. ncouterbanks69"

    I agree 100% with you ncouterbanks69! It's more room on the beach for those of us who appreciate what Hatteras and Rt 12 truly are!

  • JustAName Nov 1, 2012

    "They have absolutely no idea that those on the coast pay property taxes (usually substantially more than those in Cary due to propety values) just like they do." - cantstandgoloanymore

    The state legislature created the Beach Plan, officially called the N.C. Insurance Underwriting Association, in 1969 and expanded it in 1998 to provide a safety net for property owners in coastal counties where private insurance companies were not selling policies. Instead, it has become the insurer of choice, particularly during the explosion of beachfront development in recent years, because it has offered lower rates and more options than private companies.

    Tell me, where is the insurance plan setup by the state to insure non-coastal properties? There isn't.

  • Screw WrAl Oct 31, 2012

    Those counties should be stomping their feet and demanding that President Obama get them their Stafford money!

    Where is their Stafford Act money Mr. President?

  • Screw WrAl Oct 31, 2012

    No one needs to pay for anything, Government is on the way.

    Right Mr. Obama, where are these people's Stafford money?

  • ncouterbanks69 Oct 31, 2012

    Time to let Mother Nature reclaim the Outer Banks!

    Yes let's get rid of the greatest beaches in the country. You are more than welcome not to visit it is better off without more tourists anyway.

  • ncouterbanks69 Oct 31, 2012

    Just heard that it will cost 8 million dollars to clear Hwy 12. This is redistribution at its worst. I have to pay gas/highway taxes to use roads and now am required to pay a toll if I want to use roads that my tax money paid for and my friends had their land taken by the state for. Why should we constantly pay for highway 12? Perhaps it should be made a toll road and charge all the out of state users. This could result is a better use of our tax money.

    LOL...please. A waste of tax payer money is supporting leeches who refuse to work. NC Hwy 12 (if you have never been there) is a wonderful stretch of road and needed because no one visits Raleigh, they come to OBX. Thanks for the taxes though!

  • 101jackson101 Oct 31, 2012

    Sure are some hateful people out there, inland or on the beach, we all pay taxes are we to the point it is the beach people vs the inlanders. I'm quite sure those who live in that area pay quite their share in taxes. This country truly is going down the sewer from hateful ignorance of some.