Sandy leaves Outer Banks, but sand, floodwater remain

Posted October 30, 2012
Updated October 31, 2012

— As the mega-storm once known as Hurricane Sandy continued to pound mid-Atlantic and Northeast states Tuesday with heavy rain, snow and high winds, residents along North Carolina's coast tried to dry out and dig out in Sandy's wake.

The surging waves that Sandy brought ashore left a half-mile stretch of the five-lane U.S. Highway 158 Bypass through the heart of northern Dare County under 3 feet of water. It's only the third time in the last two decades that the highway has flooded.

Police were diverting cars through a maze of local neighborhoods where water has receded, and Kill Devil Hills Police Chief David Ward said authorities hope to bring pumps in from Richmond, Va., on Tuesday afternoon to begin clearing water from the highway.

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

Ward said it would likely take the rest of this week to get U.S. 158 reopened, but it would then take another week or two to pump out the water between the highway and N.C. Highway 12, which also is under 2 to 3 feet of water and mounds of sand.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation said N.C. 12 is littered with pieces of nearby homes, decks and driveways that were damaged by Sandy, and crews are trying to clear the debris.

DOT engineers also are trying to assess the damage to N.C. 12 on Hatteras Island in southern Dare County, which authorities said was covered with sand and water and had sections of pavement missing. Crews planned to check the top side of Bonner Bridge, which connects the mainland and Hatteras Island, for any damage on Tuesday afternoon, but an inspection of its supports will have to wait for calmer seas, authorities said.

Because Bonner Bridge remains closed to traffic, the state began ferry service between Stumpy Point and Rodanthe to deliver supplies and emergency equipment to Hatteras Island, evacuate any residents wishing to leave and allow homeowners back on the island to check their properties.

Highway 158 flooding Coastal residents digging, drying out after Sandy

Colington Harbor area of Kill Devil Hills Water in NC sounds barely makes sound as Sandy exits

A group of about 20 fishermen who were stranded on Portsmouth Island, south of Ocracoke Island, as Sandy approached on Saturday were finally able to board two private ferries Tuesday morning and return to the mainland.

The DOT resumed normal schedules for the Currituck-Knotts Island and Bayview-Aurora ferries on Tuesday, making them the third and fourth routes to return to service in Sandy's wake. Ferries left Ocracoke for Cedar Island and Swan Quarter Tuesday morning, and officials said normal ferry service to Ocracroke would resume Wednesday.

Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry service remains suspended until further notice.

Ocracoke sustained minimal damage from Sandy, although water was standing on roads there as well, officials said.

Winds wrapping around Sandy were blowing in from the west along the North Carolina coast at 15 to 17 mph Tuesday afternoon, with gusts up to 30 mph. Still, Dare County residents expressed relief that there was little sound-side flooding from the storm.

"It just came up to the bulkhead and went down, came up and went down," said Stephanie Beasley, who lives in the Colington Harbor section on the sound side of Kill Devil Hills. "We're blessed."

Tommy Beasley, a distant relative of Stephanie Beasley who owns Billy's Seafood Market in Colington Harbor, said the scenario is the opposite of Hurricane Irene, which caused severe sound-side surge and flooding. The seafood market had water 42 inches high last year after Irene.

"We were totally damaged last year, and this year, no water," Tommy Beasley said. "The good Lord smiled upon us."

Tommy Beasley said, even in Irene, they were lucky.

"No loss of life. No structural damage. We're here," he said.

National Guard troops have been stationed at an armory in Washington since Saturday, ready to be deployed and distribute emergency supplies from a warehouse in Tarboro. Officials said they were going to draw down forces in eastern North Carolina now that Sandy has passed and possibly redeploy troops to the mountains in the western parts of the state, where the storm is dumping snow.

Ward said he doesn't expect normalcy in the region for months.

"It will make tourists not come down for a while," he said, noting many rental houses were flooded and septic systems compromised. "It's going to have a large effect on the economy here for the rest of the season."


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  • lovelarvae Oct 30, 2012

    "every good old boy who ever had dreams of climbing the Democratic Party ladder can live or have a holiday home on the coast."

    Where did that come from? You don't think any republicans own homes at the beach?

  • piene2 Oct 30, 2012

    "Okay, I am going to say this and then be prepared to take my licks for being mean...
    I truly feel for the people of New Jersey and New York who have experienced a once in a life time event that has caused such devastation...

    Thankfully neither of our properties up there were touched. Though areas around the one in New Jersey took a pretty good pasting. However I am confident that those without adequate insurance will get the necessary help from the two state governments as well as the federal government.

  • piene2 Oct 30, 2012

    If we were not so busy getting the vote out it would have been wonderful to go to Ocracoke to enjoy the awesome beauty of the storm.

  • btneast Oct 30, 2012

    The repairs to NC 12 are in the state's best interest. The OBX is one of the highest tax revenue generators via tourism the state has. Dare County generates far more tax revenue than they get back from the state. To shut that route down would be cutting one's nose off to spite one's face.....

  • NoRespect Oct 30, 2012

    Most of those "Lux-o" beach homes are owned by Republicans. And, they always seem to have their hand out when the storms come along and knock the porch down. To top it off, they then deny access to "their" beach by us common-folk who can't afford their level of luxury. And, they complain about "entitlement"...

  • jblake1932 Oct 30, 2012

    Super storm Sandy, Mega storm Sandy, Storm of the century Sandy. The list goes on and on.

  • Offshore Oct 30, 2012

    well said.

  • Offshore Oct 30, 2012

    Guess Bev needs to take that 20 million back from the Pre-K mandate and start cleaning up the highways.
    Nuff z Nuff

    Would that be considered projected clean up costs since the money is projected?

  • ratherbnwpb Oct 30, 2012

    Then there are the NC Outer Banks that experiences flooding and roads washed out on, what feels like, a weekly basis. Seriously, if the Outer Banks even gets brushed by a tropical depression they get flood and the highways are washed out...maybe its time to let the Outer Banks be a wildlife refuge. I'm tired of paying ridiculous prices for home owners insurance with even more ridiculous "wind damage deductibles" so that every good old boy who ever had dreams of climbing the Democratic Party ladder can live or have a holiday home on the coast.

    I have a better idea since you always seem to be crying and complaining. MOVE TO CUBA!

  • packfan27 Oct 30, 2012

    Costly years of planning, permit applications & a guaranteed fight with SELC at each step and construction on the new Bonner bridge isn't even started.

    1 day after a hurricane...and, presto, there's ferry service to Hatteras Island.

    What's wrong with this picture?