Ocracoke Campground Closing at Noon Ahead of Potential Hurricane Maria Impacts

According to a Cape Hatteras National Seashore press release, the Ocracoke Campground is temporarily closing at noon today. The closure is necessary to ensure the safety of visitors and staff ahead of any potential impacts from Hurricane Maria. For updated Maria forecasts, go to www.nhc.noaa.gov.

National Park Service announces the reopening of facilities on Ocracoke Island

The National Park Service announced in a press release that their visitor services and facilities on Ocracoke Island will reopen on Monday, October 17, 2016. The reopening coincides with Hyde County’s decision to allow visitors to return to Ocracoke beginning at 5:00 am on October 17.

The island has been without visitors since a mandatory visitor evacuation was ordered by Hyde County on Wednesday, October 5. The evacuation order was issued ahead of Hurricane Matthew’s arrival.

Hyde County hopeful that Ocracoke Island will be reopen to visitors on Monday, October 17

In Hyde County’s Hurricane Matthew Advisory #11 they announced that they anticipate lifting their mandatory visitor evacuation of Ocracoke Island on Monday, October 17, 2016.

According to the advisory, the Ocracoke Deputy Control Group will meet on Saturday, October 15 to verify that weather conditions and recovery efforts have provided a conducive and safe environment for returning visitors, and presumably, Hyde County will announce a specific time that visitors may return to the island.

Visitors to Dare County Are Allowed to Go South of Oregon Inlet Today

The Dare County Control Group announced in the Joint Information Center bulletin #14 yesterday that visitors to Dare County will be allowed access to the Villages of Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, and Buxton, beginning at 7:00 am on Thursday, October 13, 2016. Visitor access will be restricted south of Buxton.

All Cape Hatteras National Seashore visitor services and facilities on Hatteras Island, north of Frisco, will open today at 9:00 am.

Pirate’s Cove Paradise Interrupted

When I temporarily moved into a marina-facing Pirate’s Cove condo, I found my paradise. During Hurricane Matthew, that paradise was interrupted.

The wind and heavy rain from Matthew started the evening of Saturday, October 8. Windows facing the Pirate’s Cove Marina received the brunt of the wind blowing to the north. That wind sounded like a freight train as it battered windows. The wind also sent a steady flow of rain smashing directly at windows and into the parking garage below the condo building.

Flooding under Pirate's Cove condo building
Parking garage under condo started flooding on Saturday, October 8

After a couple hours, the northerly wind and rain event calmed down and I was able to let out our chocolate lab without the fear of being blown away or being hammered by a flying shingle. While letting Ted out, I took my flashlight and checked out the water level of the marina, which turned out to be fine. The flooding in the parking garage was a result of the gusty northerly rain and not the flooding of the marina. Phew!

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Sunday morning saw waves crashing over Pirate’s Cove Marina docks

At 5:12 am, on Sunday, October 9, Pirate’s Cove Marina lost power. Obviously, it didn’t come as a surprise. The surprise came at first light when I saw how high the water level was in the marina. As seen above, the water was right up at dock level, and the dock near the Crystal Dawn was being pummeled by wave after wave caused by a south easterly wind.

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The view on Sunday morning at ground level

Luckily there wasn’t any significant rain tagging along with the very strong winds after sunrise on Sunday. The video below was taken around 7:00 am on Sunday, October 9.

Once there was a slight break in the wind, I decided to venture out and take some pictures of potential storm damage. I found some damage to the docks near the Washington Baum Bridge.

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Damage to long stretches of docks on the sound occurred during the storm

Some of the parking lots around Pirate’s Cove were flooded, but really weren’t that bad considering the amount of rain we received during Hurricane Matthew.

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Flooded parking lots receded by the end of Sunday, October 9

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The ferocious wind continued the rest of the day, and into Columbus Day on Monday. Fallen gutters and shingles, busted docks, and window screens were all around Pirate’s Cove, but some things stood strong, like the Crystal Dawn, and a United States flag on top of new home construction on Sailfish Drive.

Now, a couple days later, other things have returned to Pirate’s Cove, like boats, power, and paradise.

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