"When I think of all the fools I've been it's a wonder that I've sailed this many miles." -Guy Clark

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

twenty years ago

I'm hearing from friends and seeing stories in the media reminding me that I was on Hatteras Island twenty years ago when Hurricane Isabel hit and cut the island in two.  For twenty-some years I got the assignments to head to Hatteras whenever a hurricane was headed that way.  Most storms seemed to turn north before they reached the island.  This one did not.

The image below was from the old Seagull Motel on what they called "Little Hatteras" after the storm cut the island just north of Hatteras Village.  There had been a two story building there.  The storm carried the building a couple hundred yards down the road.  If you look at the tracking map above you can see that the Outer Banks were hit by the northeast quadrant of the storm, the strongest area of the hurricane.  

Over the years I was on Hatteras when it was cut in two by storms maybe three times.  Those folks are painfully used to it.  Often the hardest part of the storm is the week, two weeks, maybe the month afterwards when there is no power, no water, no road.  

The people were always good to me down there.  I remember a lot of kindness, being welcomed into flooded homes, destroyed businesses.  Everyone banded together and helped each other out.  I also remember a chef at the best restaurant in Hatteras Village, knowing that his refrigerators would lose power so he moved all his food to his house, then threw one of the all-time great post hurricane parties.  Yeah, twenty years ago...


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