On Tuesday, September 10 tropical storm Gustav visited Ocracoke.  The winds were moderate (probably no gustier than 60 mph), but the trajectory of the system and the counterclockwise rotation of the winds pulled water from Pamlico Sound up into the harbor and into the small creeks in the village.  By late in the afternoon the water from Silver Lake was flowing over the road around the harbor and inundating surrounding properties.

Water covering Hwy 12 in the village:
TS Gustav

Silver Lake overflowing onto the road:
TS Gustav

Not long after that the creeks overflowed and salt water poured into yards, roadways and even into a few structures.  By 5:00 p.m. the Back Road was impassable.

The Back Road under water:
Gustav Back Road water
(Photo by David Tweedie)

Water stood thigh-deep in places and lumber, tubs, wooden-handled tools and other debris went floating past the houses.  Some automobiles nearly floated away as water rose up to the seats.  A few hearty kayakers braved the wind and rain, and ventured down the newly-formed waterways.

Front Yard Scene:
Gustav Kayaks
(Photo by David Tweedie)

The ocean breached the dunes on the north end of the island, and reports indicated breakers crashing onto Highway 12.  One driver attempted to cross in front of the surf and learned the folly of his decision only when a wave hit the car and rolled it over.  No one was seriously injured.

Luckily, the storm surge hit the island at low tide.  Had it been six hours earlier or later many houses and businesses would have had significant damage from rising water.  As it was, Ocracoke suffered relatively little damage from the storm.  Within a few hours much of the water had receded, leaving only wet and soggy yards, as well as branches and assorted debris to clear away.

Of course, we all hope this is the island’s last brush with tropical weather this season.  In case you were wondering, all is well on Ocracoke and we are looking forward to a beautiful and pleasant Fall.

Hoping all is well with you, too.

Philip and the gang at Village Craftsmen