A week after Hurricane Florence slammed into the North Carolina coast it is mostly back to normal for North Carolina’s beaches along the northern part of the Outer Banks and in the southernmost Brunswick Islands to the south of Wilmington near the SC Border. However, the process of assessing damage, restoring utilities and cleaning up continues at other beaches. Of course, the towns and cities inland from the beaches are suffering from record flooding from cresting rivers.
Here is an update, to the best of our knowledge, of the status of our beautiful coast a week after Hurricane Florence:
Many roads, homes and businesses from Kinston to Wilmington are still submerged with several waterways still on the rise.
Gov. Roy Cooper spoke in a news conference Saturday morning stating that Florence “has deeply wounded our state, wounds that will not heal soon. So many people are still hurting,” “Many storm victims still need a place to call home for weeks or months.”
At least 43 people have died since the hurricane slammed into the coast more than a week ago. There have been 5,000 rescues reported in the state, Cooper said, adding that some people have been able to return.
Last week Wilmington opened three sites for food and water distribution today as officials in the North Carolina city struggle to feed a population cut off by the historic floods of Hurricane Florence.
Many rivers have reached record heights with emergency management and National Guardsmen continuing to rescue folks in perilous circumstances.
In New Bern the flood waters have receded and gone back to the rivers where they belong and the town as a whole is back on dry ground, which has allowed restoration efforts to kick into high gear. The historic business district of New Bern Merchants and storefronts are being to show some recovery.
In Wilmington the lights are coming back on and the tree limbs are being cleaned up from streets and businesses are steadily reopening but he people in need is expanding. Some food, supply distribution sites report that need is escalating as schools remain closed due to Hurricane Florence.
Brunswick County Beaches:
Flooding has receded, and power has been restored in Calabash. Some of the town’s seafood restaurants have reopened.
Open for business! Water and sewer services have been restored on the island. The town is now open to all residents and visitors, The island’s pier survived with only minor damage. Sunset Inn, an island landmark, was not damaged. Residents are permitted access.
Ocean Isle Beach:
Open for business! The town is now open to all residents and visitors, and the town hall is taking phone calls. Power has been restored. The island’s pier survived without damage. Odell Williamson Airport has reopened. The “boil-advisory” for water use has been lifted!
Open for business! Holden Beach was spared only receiving minor damage and flooding. The beaches have shown very little damage and a majority of the homes on Holden were not impacted severely. Overall the beach strand and the dunes held up well. The oceanfront at Holden Beach West has some minor dune and walkway damages and the canals seem to have fared well.
Bridges opened late Monday afternoon for residents and property owners. However, there is no electricity, and water pressure is low.
There is no water or sewer service, so access is prohibited. Officials report no major damage to homes, however.
Town officials say businesses hoping to reopen are waiting for electricity to be restored. Downed trees that blocked roads have been removed, but a portion of Bethel Road was washed away by flooding.
Bald Head Island:
Bald Head Island remains under a state of emergency power has still not been restored to the island with no estimated time for its restoration.The island will be closed and unable to receive rental guests through at least September 30th with Bald Head Island Limited Real Estate Office closed through at least September 30th.
New Hanover County
The Snows Cut Bridge is open to residents and essential personnel from noon to 8 p.m. There is an 8 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew, and visitors are not permitted yet.
There was no major damage in the town, officials say. The Kure Beach Pier survived the storm, with some damage to the right-side railing, officials say. The sign above the pier weathered the storm. The town’s children’s park, a popular spot with vacationers, was undamaged.
At the northern part of Carolina Beach, wooden staircases that had been leading from beach houses to the beach now give end several feet in the air resulting from Hurricane Florence’s relentless waves eroding the beach. Carolina Beach isn’t alone, with town officials up and down this region saying that their beaches, the area’s most valuable tourism asset, have suffered significant damage.
According to Duke Energy less than 50 customers were without power as of Friday morning. The town rescinded the curfew for all residents Thursday. Officials also began allowing visitors and residents back on the island. Residents were allowed back in the town last Tuesday. A boil water advisory issued for Wrightsville Beach was rescinded on Saturday, nine days after it was issued. According to their Facebook page, Wrightsville Beach Police continue patrolling the town to prevent crime as many residents and business owners may still be unable to return and may have left their property unattended.
The town did sustain damage, but a lot of it has been repaired and cleaned up.
The Surfrider Foundation Cape Fear Chapter held a beach sweep Saturday morning to help clear the beach of any debris and trash left thanks to Hurricane Florence.
Wrightsville Beach completed a $9.4 million beach nourishment project earlier this year. Even though the beach was certainly damaged by Florence’s storm surge the town’s manager stated that the additional sand helped to lessen property damage.
Damage was limited to roofing and siding, authorities say. Officials say they suspect some homes might have suffered ground-level flooding, but they have not been able to check on that. There is no timetable for re-entry, because electricity and other utilities are not operating.
Opened to the public last Thursday. Officials say there was considerable shingle and siding damage to homes. The tower, a landmark on the beach, remained unscathed through the storm. Mayor Doug Medlin reports that contractors are making good progress clearing debris.
In Pender County, Surf City Mayor Doug Medlin met with U.S. Representative David Rouzer on Saturday, giving him a tour of the area. The tow lost a large amount of it’s oceanfront beach. Sand from the dunes has been washed away as far as Second Street. Surf City has moved to hire a contractor to begin restoring the sand back onto the beach
The Surf City Pier survived the storm, but the octagonal building at the end of the pier was damaged. There is still no electricity or other utilities on the island.
North Topsail Beach:
Camp Lejeune delivered 180 gallons of fuel Sunday for the police and fire personnel. Alderman Tom Leonard told reporters that there were no major structural losses – just damage to shingles and siding. No houses were knocked off their pilings.
Many of the dunes were washed into roadways, and crews are trying to clear those. Officials say it will be Wednesday, at the earliest, before re-entry is permitted.
On Monday County Manager, David Cotton lifted the mandatory evacuation order.
Citizens could return to Onslow at 8 am last Tuesday morning. The biggest concern has been access into the county as well as limited resources throughout the county, including gas, food and other supplies.
Cleanup got under way Monday, as flood waters began subsiding in some inland parts of the county. The county’s beach areas remain closed to visitors, however.
The island is open to the public, and the curfew has been lifted.
Pine Knoll Shores: Electricity has been restored to most of the town, and the curfew is lifted. The American Music Festival scheduled for Saturday has been postponed. A date has not been set.
Atlantic Beach: Electricity is back on, the Food Lion store is operating, and restaurants have reopened. The curfew has been lifted. People trying to reach Atlantic Beach are reminded that U.S. 70 in Kinston is closed due to flooding.
North Topsail Beach: County officials delivered a number of tarpaulins Friday for home owners. The island remains open only to residents and property owners with passes or proof of residency.
Officials used the town’s Facebook page to warn beachgoers to be careful of debris. Authorities posted a photo of what appeared to be an old military shell, saying live ordnance might have been washed up onshore by the hurricane.
Town officials have conducted an aerial survey of property, and it can be seen on YouTube by entering the key words “Topsail Island Post Hurricane Florence.”
One of the best beaches in the country is once again open for visitors. Hyde County says Ocracoke Village was spared any noticeable damage from Hurricane Florence.
The Cape Hatteras National Seashore’s visitor center, the off-road vehicle permit office, and campground all reopened Friday morning. Highway 12 at the north end of the island was damaged by the storm, so the Hatteras to Ocracoke ferry remains out of service.
Because of this, the NCDOT has waived tolls for all ferry service to the island.
Here is the list of ferries operating:
• Swan Quarter to Ocracoke – 7:00 am, 10:00 am, 1:00 pm, 4:30 pm, and 6:30 pm
• Ocracoke to Swan Quarter – 7:00 am, 9:30 am, 12:45 pm, 3:45 pm, and 9:30 pm
• Cedar Island to Ocracoke – 7:00am, 10:00am, 1:00pm, and 4:00pm
• Ocracoke to Cedar Island – 7:30am, 10:00am, 1:00pm, and 4:00pm
To help encourage ferry walk-ons, the county will start a free tram service at 1:00 p.m. Saturday. The trams will run from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and people can park their vehicles at the ferry terminal and simply walk-on instead.
Residents and visitors have unrestricted access to Dare County’s portion of the Outer Banks. All county offices are open.
There was no major damage along this stretch of the Outer Banks, and roads are passable. Ocean swimming is prohibited, however, due to rough surf and dangerous conditions.
Operations are back to normal, with visitors permitted and county offices open.