With cleanup still underway, Outer Banks prep for third nor’easter this month

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DARE COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) — Hatteras Island is preparing for its third nor’easter since the beginning of March, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Crews are still cleaning up after a nasty nor’easter that hit hard on March 2 and 3. That storm closed down Highway 12 to most traffic for six days. There was another storm last Monday and Tuesday, and Hatteras is bracing for another possible storm.

NCDOT continues building up the dunes to hold back pounding surf or soundside flooding.

10 On Your Side met with Tim Hass, a spokesperson with NCDOT, “I’ve been talking to the (National) Weather Service and they are expecting some thunderstorms, some rain, maybe a couple of flurries mixed in, and winds up to 20-25 knots.

As far as nor’easters are concerned that is somewhat average. So we are not expecting a lot of troubles with this one, but we will be ready. We have our equipment in the normal trouble spots if anything happens we will be ready to tackle it.”

Hass says equipment is strategically placed along Highway 12 on Pea Island because overwash is such a regular occurrence. It is hoped that a new proposed elevated bridge around the areas that flood will solve the problems of the flooding and the regularity of closing Highway 12.

Hass says, “one of the worst parts is the part called the S- curves right as you come into Rodanthe. The road that is proposed is known as the “jug handle” bridge. It will bypass those flooding parts and end up right in Rodanthe, so the S curves will no longer be an issue.”

Frances Bliss was stranded on the island for five days in early March.

“It’s like we were marooned on an island,” Bliss said. Marooned by a nor’easter that left up to six feet of sand on Highway 12. “There were days when my husband had to get off the island to get medication, which he couldn’t’ do until Wednesday.”

10 On Your Side asked Hass, on a scale of 1-10, with ten being the strongest nor’easter, how would he rate this potential storm.

“From what I got from the weather service it is a three. I don’t expect a lot from this storm,” he said. What about the March 2 and 3 storm? “That one was a 9 or 10…sometimes those nor’easters can be more dangerous and costly than hurricanes.”

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