HURRICANE OPHELIA CONTINUED!
September 14-15, 2005
Once we reached the Outer Banks, we headed south onto Hatteras Island and in the direction of the lighthouse in Cape Hatteras where Mark booked a room for the evening for he and Todd Ferebee a eight-teen year old guy from the New Bern area who we met this year at the Lowe's Hurricane Readiness Fair in Morehead City. He has been a big fan for a few years and is going to study meteorology and quiet likely tropical meteorology. After we reached the hotel, and he checked in, I and friend and fellow storm-chaser from Virginia Beach, Bill Coyle went to shoot some photos and video along the beach in Buxton as the tide was really starting to come in. We went to the lighthouse but we were turned away by the local police there saying that there was already some over wash in the park so they closed it down. So we chatted a bit with them and headed back north about a half mile or so and found a spot to shoot. Afterwards, we headed into Nags Head to get a room there. My vehicle was hit in March from behind and has been repaired- however there have been some other problems that have developed coming from the accident and I did not want to leave it in Hatteras in case the surge was too bad or large amounts of sand were deposited on the road and I may have to use my 4 wheel drive. Anyway- after going north and getting a room, we uploaded video and photos to the Weather Channel, checked on the latest stats, got something to eat and turned in. We got up around 3am but saw that Ophelia had stalled again over night, so we decided to try and go back to sleep and get up around 5am. We did so and as Mark and I discussed, I would run the live stream from the Nags Head area as the morning wore on. Conditions would slowly deteriorate through the morning as Ophelia was still crawling her way towards Cape Hatteras and Hatteras Village where Mark was set up at the Harrison's home where we used their Sprint DSL last season for Hurricane Alex. As the eyewall grazed Hatteras Village Mark recorded a wind gust on the Chevy Tahoe of 95mph. This would be the highest gust reported and the eyewall sort of withdrew from the coast and that would be that. The maximum sustained winds of Ophelia lasted about 15 minutes in the Village and Ophelia started drifting slowly eastward and away from the coast.
Now that the Outer Banks were spared from the worst Ophelia had to offer, we started getting word that the onshore winds had blown the Pamlico Sound westward revealing a "dry" sound bed for lack of a better word. People were seen for hundreds of yards walking around the sound looking for whatever they could find. This would be the highlight of Ophelia as some of the locals would say that they had lived on the island their entire life and had only seen it happen once or twice before. The wind would continue to blow onshore and only slowly weaken allowing the water to come back eastward slowly and not cause any real surge flooding on the island. Below are the photos from the Outer Banks with video of the entire mission still to come.
At the hotel in Buxton, this is usually a favorite place for media to gather. Here they were hard at work for their local 6pm news casts.
The local police in Buxton close off the park that leads to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse do to surge over wash early on September 14th.
Friend and fellow chaser, Bill Coyle shooting video for the Weather Channel in Buxton of large waves causing beach erosion and threatening some of the homes along the waterfront.
One photo of mine submitted and used by the Weather.com website in the same area of Buxton.
locals who had not evacuated came out to see the surf as it threatened their stairs along the Buxton stretch of beach.
In this video frame grab, you can see a parking lot where a lot of locals from the area had taken their vehicles to higher ground. This scene played out all up and down Hatteras Island.
As it turned dark, I headed back to Nags Head with friend Bill Coyle following me. The strong onshore winds had already started dumping large amounts of sand on Hwy. 12 this is one area that was the worst.
As conditions started to go down hill, I tried to catch the wind blown sand onto Hwy 12 just south of the Oregon Inlet.
Large waves lashing the shore and the flag whipping in the 40mph winds that warned of "No Swimming"
At the hotel in Nags Head, the troops from Dominion-Virginia Power are getting ready to restore power along the Outer Banks area as Ophelia should do some damage to those powerlines.
South of the Bonner Bridge and Oregon Inlet, wind blown sand covers Hwy 12 as the winds are now sustained in the low 40s.
People with ABC's Good Morning America stop to see what I was doing and to do a story with the team on the hurricane. I would send them Mark's way just down the road from my location near the Bonner Bridge.
These are the first two photos of the empty Pamlico Sound that I took from Avon. You can see two people with their dogs walking around where water use to be.
Boats sitting on dry land as the water was pushed out from under them and pushed westward as people were harmlessly walking around looking for antiques and any other odd objects they could find.
These gentlemen talking about how this is a rare occasion to see as Ophelia lurked just offshore.
Here you can see the channel marker bare and dry as people investigated the bottom of the Pamlico Sound.
Just another perspective of the water, or lack there of. All of the sound photos were taken in Avon but this scene was played out all the way south to Hatteras Village and northward to Rodanthe and Waves.
Little did we know that we would be finishing with Ophelia and have another major category 5 hurricane develop and move into the Gulf Of Mexico. Rita did not even give us a break before forming and threatening the Florida Keys and now moving towards the Texas central coast as a cat 5. Just another story, and record for the already extremely busy 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. Video to be added soon.