September 7, 2008

Hanna Brushes Outer Banks Hanna Brushes Outer Banks


By Catherine Kozak, Jeff Hampton, Kristin Davis and Lauren King

The Virginian-Pilot

Tropical Storm Hanna paid a quick visit to the Outer Banks and checked out before noon Saturday, leaving a stiff breeze and rough surf behind.

With the storm's center carving through inland counties, the worst weather delivered to the coast was a blast of heavy rain during the morning. It cleared out within about 30 minutes.

Later in the afternoon, soundside flooding slowed traffic in two areas along the Outer Banks.

N.C. 12, near Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, was closed to traffic at about 3 p.m.

Joe and Kim Reisinger were stuck with their two young children, Wolfie and Emily, about 30 miles from their final destination soon after the road was closed. The Reisingers had left Hampton on Saturday morning for Frisco to spend a two-week vacation, but in their Ford Taurus wagon they were unable to move through the water . N.C. 12 reopened fully to traffic at about 5:30 p.m.

Farther north in Duck, traffic was limited to one lane.

Marinas on U.S. 158 just outside Elizabeth City in Camden County flooded with about 2 feet of water as south winds pushed the Pasquotank River inland. The marinas typically flood with strong south winds.

Tidal overwash flooded some streets in Elizabeth City. Barricades were set up on Southern Avenue, Riverside Avenue, Roanoke Avenue and Parkview Road, said Rich Olson, Elizabeth City manager. Six people stayed overnight at the lone Elizabeth City shelter, set up at Knobbs Creek Park, said Pauline Waters , shelter manager for the American Red Cross.

No significant flooding or wind damage was reported in Currituck County, said Stanley Griggs, emergency management director. Early Saturday, a wind gust of 50 mph was recorded at county headquarters in the community of Currituck, he said.

Hanna moved about 40 miles east of Raleigh through the morning, but the storm seemed to do little to disrupt life on the Outer Banks.

Mary Harrison and Colin Boeh walked out onto the beach near the old Cape Hatteras Lighthouse site just before rain started around 8 a.m.

"I heard this was going to be the worst wind," said Harrison, who lives on Hatteras and works as a biotech for the National Park Service. "I like leaning into the wind."

Others sat in cars in the parking lot and watched as winds whipped sand and sea foam across the beach.

"This is nothing," Boeh said soon after the wind and rain had driven him and Harrison to the car. "The waves aren't even that big."

An hour later, the worst had passed, sending Donald Franks and Dallas Arnold of Wilson, N.C., out for a walk with their dogs, Daisy and Dusty. They'd kept their weekend reservations at a campground despite news of Hanna.

Franks said he once stayed in a mobile home at Atlantic Beach during a Category 1 hurricane and regretted it once the walls started bowing and pictures fell off the wall.

Hanna, which left some water standing in places along the highway and scattered a few tree limbs, didn't compare.

"It shook the camper," Franks said, "but nothing major. I think it's about over now."

Richard Crossley drove from New Jersey to Hatteras Island for a chance to spot pelagic birds, which spend most of their lives at sea.

Storms tend to bring them ashore, he said, and he had seen two sooty terns during his morning watch at Cape Hatteras Fishing Pier in Frisco, which was closed, a board across its front door.

He planned to follow the storm back up the coast.

"I was hoping for more," he said, "but the day is young."

- online videos

Church holds baptisms in the rain, and storm draws surfers to the beach. Watch both at PilotOnline .com.


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