Dare damage hits $2.5 million, one house destroyed by storm

By on September 6, 2016

Flooding on Hatteras Island. (Melody Patterson)

Delivering a bigger blow than expected, Tropical Storm Hermine damaged at least 657 properties in Dare County and destroyed a house in Southern Shores, a preliminary assessment shows.

So far, the damage has added up to a loss of $2.5 million, not including debris pickup and more losses that a second assessment might find, County Manager Bobby Outten said.

Flooding in Frisco accounted for more than half of the losses, according to the report. No structural damage was reported in the Hatteras Island community, but as many as 100 buildings saw flooding on lower levels, most of which were storage areas.

Hatteras Island losses totaled $1.4 million in the assessment, which was presented to the Dare County Board of Commissioners Tuesday.

Three homes in Hatteras village had 4 to 6 inches of water in living areas and two had minor flooding in unfinished storage areas. Two cabanas in Hatteras Sands Campground were detroyed by a tornado.

A house in Southern Shores was destroyed when two trees fell on it. Seven more properties were listed as sustaining major damage — six in Duck and boat-building structure on the mainland.

Beachcombers found plenty to pick through at Milepost 4 in Kitty Hawk Tuesday. (Sam Walker)

In Kill Devil Hills, the assessment found 205 properties with damage totaling $672,000. Structures lost shingles and siding, and fences were damaged. The Comfort Inn on N.C. 12 suffered $300,000 to $350,000 in losses to its roof and ventilation system.

Signs were damaged at other commercial properties.

Duck and Kitty Hawk saw similar problems from wind and falling debris, but nothing major, the report said. Roanoke Island had debris from foliage, and an outbuilding was detroyed by a fallen tree. Nags Head was not planning a report and Manteo has not responded.

The assessment does not include damage to campers, trailers, boats, cars and trucks.

Commissioners generally praised the response of county workers to the storm, even though its impact had been underestimated.

Outten said the response was based on information that called for winds in the 40-mph range, minor soundside flooding and no ocean overwash.

“So all the response, all of the efforts, all of the things that we do were based on that information that we get from the National Hurricane Center,” he said.

After the center of the storm passed over the Outer Banks Saturday morning, winds on the backside of the storm gusted to almost 80 mph from the north. Sound water that had been forced to the northwest rushed back onto the barrier islands.

Commissioner Allen Burrus, who owns a grocery store in Hatteras village, said the water on the island rose from “dead low” to 2 1/2 to 4 feet in less than 40 minutes.

Burrus urged the county staff to look at its response to see what could have been done better. He expressed concern in particular about what he said was an unreliable system to help people check on family members.

“There’s a lot of difference in expecting a 40-mile-an-hour wind . . . and ending up with an 80-mile-an-hour wind that puts people in peril,” he said. “And there has to be something that’s set up that communicates quickly to the powers that be . . .”

Outten said the county would probably not qualify for state or federal money to help with debris pickup, which will take 30 to 45 days. The county will announce the schedule, he said.

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