Hermine’s windy one-two punch leaves another mess

By on September 4, 2016

N.C. 12 at Milepost 4 is threatened again. The road has been rebuilt several times in recent years. (Rob Morris)

As Hermine drifted offshore and sent swells onto the Outer Banks and mid-Atlantic shorelines, property owners were busy Sunday cleaning up debris left by winds that gusted to almost 80 mph just 24 hours earlier.

The storm is now classified as subtropical, which means it is no longer generating heavy rain but features a greatly expanded windfield that will continue to cause trouble for several days.

At 11 a.m., the storm was off the Delmarva Pensinsula with winds of about 70 mph.

As it wanders around offshore for the next few days, it could become a hurricane again with maximum sustained winds of more than 74 mph.

The center of the storm rumbled into northeastern North Carolina just before dawn Saturday with heavy rain and winds peaking at more than 55 mph.

Downed trees and flooding were reported throughout northeastern North Carolina, but the worst effects seemed to be in in Dare, Tyrrell and Currituck counties.

A tractor-trailer driver was killed when his rig was blown onto the railing of the Lindsay C. Warren Bridge over the Alligator River, Tyrrell County Sheriff Darryl Liverman said.

The bridge was closed most of the day and reopened at 5 p.m., Liverman said.

Another accident, also involving a tractor-trailer, partially closed the Virginia Dare Bridge at Manns Harbor for several hours, according to the State Highway Patrol.

Meanwhile, sand covered much of N.C. 12 in Kitty Hawk, and some side streets saw standing water. N.C. 12 was closed shortly before noon at Lillian Street, where the dune has been breached in previous storms.

Downed trees and limbs were numerous in Southern Shores, and members of the Volunteer Fire Department spent Saturday clearing the town’s narrow roads. On Sunday, homeowners were busy cleaning up debris from yards.

Limbs and sawed sections of tree trunks lined roadsides. Foliage shredded by the wind covered the pavement in heavily wooded neighborhoods.

On Sunday, Hyde County lifted the mandatory evacuation for visitors on Ocracoke Island  that restricted ferry access.

Avalon Pier Saturday morning during a break in the weather. (Rob Morris)

When Hermine steamed in at around 4:30 a.m., the Duck Research Pier clocked a gust of 60 mph. Area buoys were measuring wave heights averaging around about 12 feet. At Oregon Inlet, the peak height was 14 feet at 5:30 a.m.

Ninety minutes later, Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head registered a wind speed of 24 mph from the south. In Manteo, the National Weather Service reported winds of just 7 mph near sunrise.

That, plus some bursts of sunshine, brought people out to watch huge waves hammering the beach and sending clouds of seafoam toward the dunes.

The lull lasted about 4 hours, then the wind picked up again from the north on the backside of the storm’s circulation. At 11 a.m., the Duck pier was recording wind speeds of 67 mph with a peak gust of 78 mph. Winds at Jennette’s were clocking in at a steady 46 mph.

Hermine delivered a bigger punch than expected with the wind shift. Soundside surge sent 5 feet of water into some communities on the south end of Hatteras Island, a Dare County statement said.

Surf reached about 9 feet in Nags Head and seas offshore were up to 20 feet.

By the time it headed offshore, Hermine had become a hybrid system interacting with a cold front and was forecast to linger off of the Delmarva Peninsula and could do a couple of loops before finally heading out to sea, according to the National Hurricane Cemter.

This house at Milepost 2 saw some wind damage. Much of the beach in Kitty Hawk is also unprotected by dunes. (Sam Walker)

There is concern that if Hermine stalls off the Delmarva/New Jersey coast it will create lingering large swells from the northeast.

With waves and water levels elevated across the Outer Banks into mid-week, this may result in significant erosion through multiple high tide cycles, according to the National Weather Service.

Recent posts in this category

Recent posts in this category

Comments are closed.