Alex hits Ocracoke
August 5, 2004, 11:20 am
Ocracoke Island was hit hard by Hurricane Alex. About 3,500 Ocracoke visitors were ordered off the island on Wednesday, August 4th. The 750 residents are allowed to stay. As Hurricane Alex hammered the small island soundside over wash and flooding disabled an estimated 200 cars. Larger trucks with good ground clearance were generally safer than smaller, low to the ground cars. Ocracoke Island was at near capacity with about 3,500 tourists who did not leave .. there was no evacuation order, many, many tourists have lost their vehicles and are temporarily stranded.
This morning there was a fire that consumed one of the large expensive cottages in the Sound Shores neighborhood. Two vehicles underneath shorted out when the owners attempted to start them and the structure caught on fire. The Sound Shores area was filled with Fire Equipment, cars that can't be moved, and storm debris.
The good news is that power and telephone service is being restored to parts of Ocracoke Island. Homeowners, power and telephone workers, grocery and supply deliveries, N.C. State highway department personnel, and relief, fire and rescue workers are allowed to come onto the island.
Dare County is sending over school buses to bring tourists by ferry to Hatteras Island where they can rent a car .. a nice neighborly gesture (Ocracoke Island is in Hyde County) .. locals say they are allowing any and everything on the buses that will fit .. bicycles, pets, luggage and families. Local auto rental agencies are reportedly sending rental cars over to Hatteras Village to make them available to those who need them.
Residents and business owners are hoping to see re-entry allowed for the general public by Sunday although there has been no confirmation of this by Hyde County officials .. others speculate the re-entry date may be as late as sometime next week. Most seem to feel the delay will be due to the large number of cars to be removed from the island. Disabled autos need to be moved in order to clear the debris and allow workers to reach some of the homes that were flooded.
Visitors who have reservations on Ocracoke Island are asked to re-confirm them by telephone before leaving home, especially if their vacation plans call for check-in this weekend or early next week.
RAI Staff Report -
August 5, 2004, 11:20 am
Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce
The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse opened to the public on Friday April 9, 2004. Entrance to the lighthouse will be on a scheduled tour basis. The lighthouse will be open through the fall.
Old Glory © Bruce Roberts
The "Old Glory" flag, with 15 stars and stripes, was the first American flag raised at Cape Hatteras in 1803. It flew over the lighthouse again October 18, 2003 in honor of 200 Years of Light at Cape Hatteras. The Outer Banks Lighthouse Society co-sponsored the event with the National Park Service.
Lighthouse tours will begin at 9 a.m. daily and will run every 10 minutes until 5 p.m. with a limit of 30 visitors per tour. The last tour of the day will begin at 4:50 p.m. Tour fees are $6.00 for adults and $3.00 for senior citizens (62 or older), children (12 and under), and those holding Golden Access passes. From Memorial Day, May 31 through Labor Day, September 6, the Lighthouse will be open until 6 p.m. with the last tour beginning at 5:50 p.m.
Upon purchase, each visitor will receive a ticket indicating the date and time of their tour. Visitors should line up at the lighthouse gate five minutes before their tour time and present their tickets for entry.
The ticket booth at the lighthouse will open at 8:15 a.m. daily. Tickets will be available on a first come, first served basis, are sold only at the ticket booth on site, and are available for the day of purchase only. Advance ticket sales are not available to the public or commercial tours. Tours will likely sell out by noon each day, so visitors should plan to arrive early to purchase their tickets. Annual passes will not be sold this year.
Some tours may be booked in advance for school groups. These tours will be limited to 10:00, 10:20, and 10:40 a.m. and 2:00, 2:20 and 2:40 p.m. School group tours can be scheduled by calling the Hatteras Island Visitor Center between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily at (252) 995-4474. Educational fee waiver requests must be submitted in advance to: Fee Manager, National Park Service, Outer Banks Group, 1401 National Park Drive, Manteo, NC 27954.
"To show the park's appreciation to the community, no tour fees will be charged on the opening day, Friday, April 9," stated Lawrence A. Belli, Superintendent, Outer Banks Group. Tour tickets must still be picked up at the lighthouse fee booth for Friday April 9 tours. As with most days, available tours on Friday April 9 will likely fill up by noon that day.
Cape Lookout Light Station © Bruce Roberts
The 1859 Cape Lookout Light Station is located on remote Core Sound Banks Island. The lighthouse was designed by Lt. W.H.C. Whiting, Army Corps Engineer based in Wilmington, NC, who became a captain during the Civil War and died following the battle of Ft. Fisher. Its height reached skyward over 150 feet, making it one of the courntry's first tall, coastal lights built of double-wall brick construction. It survived the Civil War though its companion 1812 tower was destroyed. The repaired first order Fresnel lens was reinstalled in 1867 and it was fitted with iron spiral stairs. It was painted in black and white diamonds, then called "checkers," in 1873. The Cape Lookout Lighthouse survived Hurricane Isable in September 2003 but the coal shed, the small building in front of the keeper's quarters, was blown over and subsequently removed. The ruins of the 1812 lighthouse are still evident adjacent to the current lighthouse.
Currituck Beach Lighthouse © Bruce Roberts
The Currituck Beach Lighthouse was conveyed to permanent stewards, Outer Banks Conservationists, Inc. on October 17, 2003, following an application and review process under the auspices of the Department of the Interior. The lighthouse, keepers' quarters and grounds are beautifully restored and ranked as one of the best restoration projects in America.
Ocracoke Re-Opens to Visitors
August 6, 2004, 10:30 am
Officials have agreed to re-open Ocracoke Island to visitors beginning Saturday morning at 6:00 am on August 7, 2004.
Visitors who have reservations on Ocracoke Island beginning the weekend of August 7th & 8th are urged to contact their cottage rental company or motel to reconfirm their reservations prior to leaving home as restoration of essential services continues on parts of the island and some rental properties have been flooded.
Many of the island's estimated 3,500 visitors were evacuated via county school buses and the Swan Quarter and Hatteras Island ferries yesterday to destinations throughout the state where rental cars and public transportation could be obtained for their return home. An estimated 200+ automobiles were flooded out and were not able to be driven. The tedious task of removing these stranded vehicles has begun.
Local businesses and residents are working hard to clean-up after Hurricane Alex's surprise visit earlier this week. While most essential power and telephone services have been restored, health and building inspectors are going door to door inspecting each property and septic system for structural damage.
RAI Staff Report -
August 6, 2004, 10:30 am
Summer 2004 Highlights
COMPLETE CALENDAR OF EVENTS See the complete calendar of events here. A small sampling of events are provided below.
THROUGH NOVEMBER - PEA ISLAND VISITOR CENTER Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
Pea Island Visitor Center is open 9-4 daily from March through November and week-ends (Thu thru Sun) during the winter months. Both Pea Island and Alligator River wildlife trails are open year round during daylight hours.252-473-1131 x230/473-1668.
AUGUST 6 - 8 SALES TAX FREE SHOPPING IN NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina will celebrate its third Sales Tax Holiday beginning Friday, August 6 and ending Sunday, August 8, 2004. During this weekend certain items are free from sales tax. As in past years, retailers can anticipate heavy traffic and highly elevated sales.
The North Carolina General Assembly created the first sales tax holiday in 2002 and since then has been making minor changes to the legislation that governs the three-day "holiday" from sales tax. For more information and a list of specific tax exempt items for this event, visit www.ncrma.org
JULY 11 - 12, 26th ANNUAL WRIGHT KITE FESTIVAL - WRIGHT BROTHER'S MEMORIAL, KILL DEVIL HILLS This festival is enjoyed by all ages with casual competitions for kids and adults. Participate in the stunt kites demos, games and contests. Kids can make and fly their kites at the base of the memorial where flight began. Events begin mid morning and continue through the afternoon. 877-FLY-THIS or 441-4124.
AUGUST 7th & 8th ALICE KELLY LADIES ONLY MEMORIAL BILLFISH TOURNAMENT 15th Annual Alice Kelly Ladies Only Memorial Billfish Tournament, Pirates Cove Yacht Club
Come on out ladies for a great weekend of fishing! Registration is on August 7 and fishing is on August 8. For more info, call 473-3906
JULY 14th, 21st, 28th & AUG 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th RED WOLF HOWLING SAFARI at 8:00pm. Join Alligator River National Wildlife staff on a Howling Safari for an unforgettable evening! Learn about endangered red wolves, found only in the wilds of northeastern North Carolina, and get the chance of a lifetime to hear their harmonious howls. Meet at Creef Cut Wildlife Trail at the intersection of Milltail Road and Highway 64 (approximately 15 minutes from Manteo). All programs are free but registration is required! Please call 252-473-1131 Ext. 243 to register.
AUGUST 9-13 PIRATE'S COVE BILLFISH TOURNAMENT 21st Annual Pirate's Cove Billfish Tournament, Pirates Cove Yacht Club
Come out for a great week of fishing! Registration is on August 9 and fishing is from August 10-August 13. For more info, call 473-3906
AUGUST 10th - BEGINNING BIRDING Beginning Birding, Corolla
The Outer Banks Center for Wildife Education, 10 am. This program will teach participants basic birding techniques and bird identification. For more info and registration, call 252-453-0221.
AUGUST 12th TEA WITH THE QUEEN Elizabethan Gardens
Program includes high tea with Queen Elizabeth I followed by behind-the-scenes tour of Waterside Theatre. Reservations Required. 252-473-2127,ext 229.
AUGUST 1 - 14th HISTORY FUN PROGRAMS Daily scheduled programs aboard Elizabeth II, in Adventure Museum, Settlement Site & History Garden. 252-475-1506 for schedule.
AUGUST 17th FISHING THE SOUND Corolla
The Outer Banks Center for Wildife Education, 1 pm. Participants learn the basics of fishing in Currituck Sound, including species identification, bait selection, and ethics. All equipment is supplied. For more info and registration, 252-453-0221.
At A Glance
OUTER BANKS, NC
Here's where to find the Outer Banks basics:
Current Weather and Forecasts
Outer Banks Calendar of Events
Outer Banks Sportfishing Reports
Outer Banks Ferry Schedules
Directions to the Outer Banks
Map of the Outer Banks
Tour the Outer Banks Lighthouses
The Outer Banks Lighthouse Collection
Outer Banks Shopping Directory
Requests .. Vacation Guides, Travel Guides, Accommodations, etc.
Currituck Beach Lighthouse Stairs © Bruce Roberts
The iron spiral stairs at the Currituck Beach Lighthouse hug the contour of the inner brick wall. Akin to the inside of a nautilus shell, the symmetry of the ascending stairs is striking. This lighthouse and the one at Bodie Island are built from identical plans. Army Corps Engineer and later fifth district U.S. Lighthouse engineer Peter C. Hains was present during the completion of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in 1870 and supervised the construction of Bodie Island Lighthouse 1870-72 and Currituck Beach, completed in 1875. Hains was later famous for dredging the Potomac River and creating the park lands upon which the Lincoln Memorial is located. Hains Point is named for him.