Friday 24 March 2017 at 4:55 pm
Does it seem a little early in the year to be discussing hurricanes? You betcha.
But in early March, NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (NHC) released a detailed list of changes to their “products and services” for the upcoming 2017 storm season. In other words, these are changes to the information and graphics that we all obsessively peruse on the NHC website whenever a named storm is out in the Atlantic waters.
And some of these changes are indicative of the shift that’s been occurring over the past several years from a focus on wind speed, to a focus on storm surge instead.
As everyone on Hatteras and Ocracoke Island knows, it’s the storm surge – or the flood of water that pours in like a bulldozer – that causes the most damage during a storm, and the NHC has been actively finding ways to forecast the likelihood of storm surge, and to share this information with the public.
In May of 2016, Jamie Rhome - the man who oversees the National Hurricane Center’s Storm Surge Unit and who is blazing a trail with new forecasting methods – spoke at a public meeting in Buxton to discuss the importance of storm surge when watching for potential effects of an upcoming storm.
“If you don’t take away anything else – if you want to go to sleep for the rest of the [meeting] – remember this,” said Rhome at the 2016 event. “The Saffir-Simpson scale is not the weapon of choice to determine your vulnerability... It’s storm surge that does the damage.”
With this in mind, the NHC website has added a wealth of storm surge information in the past several years, and essentially, these updates are continuing for 2017.
Friday 17 March 2017 at 11:11 am
On Tuesday, March 7, a public meeting was held at the Buxton Fessenden Center on the upcoming Buxton Beach Nourishment Project that is slated to start this summer. All the major players were there – including the Board of Commissioners, the National Park Service, the leaders from Coastal Science and Engineering (CSE), and the construction firm doing the dirty work – to explain the project in detail, and to answer questions.
And there certainly was a lot of ground, or rather sand, to cover.
So in case you were unable to attend the roughly two-hour meeting, or didn’t catch some of the details from the unending stream of information and multiple power point presentations, here’s a basic primer comprised of FAQs on what’s happening, and what to expect.
Friday 10 March 2017 at 5:23 pm
On March 7, Rep. Beverly Boswell (R-Dare) introduced a two-page bill in the NC House of Representatives that would repeal the ban on plastic bags in certain coastal areas, including Hatteras Island.
Citing that “this prohibition impacts North Carolina businesses large and small… and hinders their ability to create jobs,” the bill would bring plastic bags back to the grocery stores, and would essentially replace the ban with a “voluntary educational program informing citizens of the availability of recycling sites throughout the entire State.”
The original ban, which was the initiative of then Senate leader Marc Basnight of Dare County, was passed in 2009, and was truly one of the first of its kind. Since it went into effect, more than 125 areas across the country have generated similar bans on plastic bags.
The nuts and bolts of the original ban from 2009 is simple enough. Retail stores in Ocracoke, Hatteras, and the coastal Outer Banks are required to use recyclable brown paper bags instead of the traditional plastic bags, and customers who bring their own reusable bags to the store are eligible for a 5 cent credit per bag.