Hi, and welcome to my "Editor's Blog"! In this space I'll be attempting to keep our readers informed on fast-breaking news and issues affecting our islands. Visit often. There's a lot going on!

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The top 10 stories of 2009 on Hatteras and Ocracoke…..WITH SLIDE SHOW

Thursday 31 December 2009 at 4:19 pm It seems that all the media do it this time of year – the top 10 news stories of the year, the top 10 singers, actors, or athletes of the year or the decade or whatever.

So I thought I would close out the year with what I think were the top 10 stories on our islands. Read More

Merry Christmas from the weary and wet Island Free Press staff

Wednesday 23 December 2009 at 4:49 pm ‘Twas the weekend before Christmas, and all though our land,
The wind was blowing and kicking up sand.

The ocean was frightful, and the waves surged to shore,
Bringing sand and water on the highway once more.

The wind, it shifted from the east to the west,
And the tide started rising, ending many a fest.

Sorry, Island Free Press readers, but I just couldn’t help myself.

And my apologies to Clement C. Moore, the author of one of the most enduring Christmas stories of all time. Read More

Northeasters in north Rodanthe: A retrospective, starring Serendipity, WITH A SLIDE SHOW

Friday 11 December 2009 at 4:54 pm Island Free Press photographer Don Bowers has been photographing the wrath of storms on Hatteras Island for a long time now.

And he has a particularly large collection of photos from the last three years’ worth of significant northeasters at Mirlo Beach in Rodanthe and the S-curves.

In fact, he’s been photographing the storms since before there was an Island Free Press, which came online in September, 2007.  Before then, he worked for me when I was editor of The Island Breeze.

He flies with Dwight Burrus of Burrus Flightseeing Tours and has managed to put together a remarkable portfolio of how the storms have affected this particularly troublesome area in north Rodanthe. His photos document how each succeeding storm has been more serious and more damaging to structures and to Highway 12. Read More

Are there any lessons for Cape Hatteras in a stakeholder clash at another national seashore?

Monday 07 December 2009 at 4:27 pm Across the continent, on the Pacific Ocean, there is a national seashore that is grappling with issues similar to those that face the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

That would be the Point Reyes National Seashore on the California coast north of San Francisco.

A friend and Free Press reader sent me an article last month from the Nov. 1 issue of The New York Times.

That clipping lingered on my desk through last month’s damaging northeaster, and when I found it again this week, I was struck with the issues at Point Reyes and how similar some of them are to Cape Hatteras seashore issues. And I wondered what, if any, lessons we here at Cape Hatteras might learn from what has happened there. Read More

Soundside Surprises: What's with the no-advance-warning Pamlico Sound flooding?

Tuesday 01 December 2009 at 4:50 pm Twice in November, Hatteras and Ocracoke islands had coastal flooding from the Pamlico Sound.

And both events caught our local National Weather Service forecasters in Newport, N.C., by surprise.

Now it seems possible that both of the flood tides might be connected to higher than normal tides that have been observed up and down the East Coast since early June.

The first tidal flooding from the sound on Hatteras and Ocracoke came on Friday, Nov. 13, during the storm that is now being called Nor’Ida.  

The remnants of Hurricane Ida, which came ashore on the Gulf Coast of Alabama, made their way across the southeast and back into the Atlantic, forming a northeaster that hung for days off the Outer Banks, battering the islands, seriously damaging parts of Highway 12 in north Rodanthe, and taking a toll on houses and other structures in South Nags Head, Rodanthe, and Buxton.

From Friday morning into Sunday morning, Nov. 15, there was tidal flooding from Frisco to Ocracoke.

The flooding in Frisco was not too serious, but in parts of Hatteras and Ocracoke the water rose to a foot to a foot and a half along parts of Highway 12 in the villages. Read More