Well, it took a while but the wind, rain and threat of Hurricane Joaquin is gone, over, done. We are glad. While any hurricane is dangerous, often a nor'easter can inflict more damage because these storms tend to stick around for a few days and waves just keep pounding our coastline.
I know our Ocracoke and Hatteras neighbors had some flooding and so did some towns inland, but thankfully, we did not get much damage except for that stretch of the beach road near Milepost 4 in Kitty Hawk. They had just repaired that section in May and now it will have to be done again...but, it will get done.
I wanted to use this opportunity to hopefully inform visitors why it is so important and necessary that we all, locals and visitors alike, pay attention to storms and listen to local authorities. We know that some people get really upset when the red flags (=No Swimming) go up, and stay up for several days. The towns do not make this decision lightly, but it is for your own safety.
Same thing when an evacuation is ordered. We don't have any shelters here, none. We have to get visitors off this beach and to safety. There are just not enough resources to take care of everyone if the storm disrupts power, water, tears up roads, causes flooding and so on.
If you saw any of the photos taken and shared on social media over the last few weeks, you can see how big those waves are. How strong the winds get and how hard the rain falls. We want you safe. Off the island. Yes, it is disappointing that your vacation was cut short, we realize that. But, better safe than sorry. And, our local officials are in constant contact with VA officials who also may be ordering an evacuation...think of the back-ups we could have if the orders are not timed correctly. Not good.
So, I am sure you are wondering if locals leave the OBX when there is a mandatory evacuation, right? Some do, some don't. It depends on where you live, how severe the storm is and, a big factor, whether you have small children or someone who is ill living with you. Since 1972 I think I have left three times...maybe four. There were probably a few storms that I should have left for, but did not. I remember one night laying in bed, power had gone out, wind was howling, I had nothing on because it was hot in the house...no AC. I got up and put on a nightgown just in case the roof blew off and I was sucked out into a neighbors yard...so I would not be found naked. True.
I also remember my husband and friends boarding up the house for Hurricane Irene. We stayed. Well, we stayed until the water from the sound started rushing up the street. We had to run out of the house with water splashing up around our legs and hop in the cars and go. That is the only time in 40+ years that has happened to me.
Preparation, precautions and safety...and then waiting. Waiting for the storm to hit and wondering what is happening.
Now, after a storm the air is clean, the sun is bright and everyone goes out to see what went on. That part never changes. And the local officials life the evacuation order as soon as they are sure it is safe. We DO want you to come back.