Local News

Dennis Leaves Outer Banks

Posted September 4, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— For parts of the Outer Banks and coastal plain flooding has become the worst threat from tropical depression Dennis. People are spending Labor Day mopping up the water, shoveling the sand and looking for a return of blue skies.

Outer Banks

Dare County officials have announced that, effective immediately, residents and property owners in all vehicles will be allowed entry to Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo and Avon.

Access between Avon and Buxton is limited to four-wheel drive vehicles only. All roads and bridges north of Oregon Inlet are open as of 10 a.m. Monday. Motorists should use caution along Highway 12 (Beach Road), as raiin waer and debris remain in isolated areas.

Highway 1243 (South Old Oregon Inlet Road) is open to all traffic.

No traffic will be allowed to exit 1243 on the southern end.

Ferry service is currently restricted for Dare County. Call 1-800-BY-FERRY for updated information.

N.C. Baptist Disaster Recovery volunteer teams are available to help with clean-up. Call Richard Brunson at 919-291-3656 or G. Moss at 919-810-1828.

Residential and commercial garbage collection for Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras will be provided today. The northern beaches will resume regular trash pickup today. A heavy volume is anticipated; please be patient.

Flooding is bad at all the islands, and the worst is reported in Beaufort, Carteret, Craven and Hyde Counties. Hatteras Island is closed to visitors until Wednesday at the latest and the ferry is not operational.

Dare County Emergency Management asks that residents and property owners move all downed tree limbs and shrubbery to the right of way for removal. Pickups will be scheduled as soon as possible. Plant debris is the only type of storm-related material that should be put on the right of way until further notice.

The county's C&D Landfill in Stumpy Point will be open from 7 a.m. - 8 p.m. until further notice to accept yard debris.

Preliminary damage assessments indicate just over $10 million in property damage. As teams continue their work, the total is expected to rise.

All along the beachfront, homes have been condemned. Residents say they will rebuild, but it will be up to building inspectors to decide if it is safe to do that.

Falcon Cable reports that extensive work will be done to their system over the next few days, creating occasional outages. Please report any downed cable lines or other problems to 441-2881.

Coastal Plain

Several cities in Beaufort and Pamlico Counties have been under water since Saturday night.

The worst flooding inland could be found in Beaufort County in the city of Washington.

Most streets in Washington were clear Sunday night. There were still a few that were closed. The water is going down very quickly because of the city's water pump station.

Over 150 million gallons of water have come through the station within the last 24 hours.

"Washington has interesting topography in that the land next to the river is actually a little higher than the land a few blocks back," says city spokeswoman Carolyn Stroud. "So when we have a storm surge, it fills up the city like a ball."

The pumps were installed more than 40 years ago after Hurricane Hazel. Without the pumps, many people say they would still be under water. Officials say the pumps will continue working until about 2 p.m. Monday.

Officials said they hoped to have all roadways open my midnight on Sunday.

Debris has been washed into the roadway, which can make travel hazardous.

Floodwaters were receding in Pamlico County Sunday morning, but Dennis made for a wild night in the coastal county.

Dennis dumped up to 8 inches of rain in some areas.

Emergency management officials said 150 people stayed at shelters after being forced from their homes by floodwaters in Lowland, Oriental and Whartonville.

National Guard troops helped people evacuate and even rescued people stranded on bridges at the height of the storm.