New assessment doubles Dare’s storm damage to $5.4 million

By on September 8, 2016

A tornado hit Hatteras Sands campground. (John A. Mortensen)

Dozens of additional houses, most of them on Hatteras Island, have been added to a new damage assessment that now puts Dare County losses from Tropical Storm Hermine at just under $5.4 million, more than twice the amount initially reported.

The assessment, released Thursday, added 97 homes in Hatteras village and 31 houses in Avon with possible flood damage.

Last weekend’s storm delivered a vicious second blow with its backside as winds gusted to to 80 mph and water from the Pamlico Sound rushed into the west side of the barrier islands.

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“On the southern end of Hatteras Island, the flooding that occurred from the back side of the storm was significant, due to the swiftness of the water rise, and water level,” a summary of the assessment said.

“This resulted in substantial amounts of flooding of personal property, such as vehicles, and contents of homes or businesses which are not assessed in this report.”

Other updates included five houses possibly damaged in Rodanthe, Waves and Salvo and from overwash. More overwash during high tide on Monday, Sept. 5, a full day after the storm had passed, might have damaged nine house and one business in Buxton.

Also added to the list were four houses, a church and six business in Frisco. In Avon, 31 more houses were found with possible flood damage, mostly to ground-floor enclosrues.

The latest report found 100 additional houses with some damage in Duck.

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On Tuesday, the first report put losses $2.5 million.

Flooding in Frisco accounted for more than half of the losses. 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, according to the first assessment.

Hatteras Island losses totaled $1.4 million in the first first, but the number jumped to $4.2 million in the latest report.

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Two cabanas in Hatteras Sands Campground were destroyed by a tornado.

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

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.

A soundfront house in Colington that was used as a second home saw major damage when a portion of the roof was blown off.

Duck and Kitty Hawk experienced 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 in Manteo, no water was reported in businesses downtown, but an outbuilding had tree damage.

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.

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