Bald Head Island gets own weather station

Posted October 2, 2015 7:10 p.m. EDT

— The residents of Bald Head Island no longer have to depend on the weather measurements of neighboring coastal communities.

The State Climate Office erected new weather monitoring equipment on the Bald Head Island Conservancy campus.

"We've spent a lot of time thinking about what are the weather sensitivities here on the island? How do we understand the weather and climate that affects the residents here?" State Climatologist Ryan Boyles said.

Residents have a keen interest in the weather because of their position on the coast. Bald Head Island sits at the convergence of two coastlines, creating the southernmost cape on the Outer Banks, and juts into the ocean, making it more vulnerable to hurricanes and other storms.

"We're standing on the Cape Fear – the Cape Fear," said Suzanne Dorsey, executive director of the Bald Head Island Conservancy.

Dorsey said storm surges slash away at the island's dunes, which protect beach homes and natural inland habitats such as lush maritime forest.

"Sea oats act as the rebar for our dune," she said. "Over time, if left alone, this dune can actually grow and become healthy again."

Island residents have bought into the conservancy's mission not to interfere with nature's course.

"They would like to live in harmony with nature, and that's what we do here," Dorsey said.

The new weather station will not only document and help predict the weather, it also will enhance conservation efforts on the island and along the entire coast, she said.