While the attention of the national media turns elsewhere, we on Hatteras Island are still struggling with the aftermath of a storm that was not supposed to hit us nearly as closely, nor as severely, as it did. I will leave the discussion about the non-evacuation orders as well as the science of forecasting to others. This post will be about what you should expect as a visitor arriving in the next days, weeks, or even months.
This was a storm with sound-side flooding of epic proportions. Whether or not it was worse than Emily really doesn’t matter. For individuals who lost businesses or homes or other property, it is a very difficult time. Islanders are a hearty breed, and that is a point of pride. But any time there is a storm with this kind of impact, it takes a while to recover. You may not see all of the damage as you drive along. But in the neighborhoods on the back roads, along the creeks and ponds, there will be piles of debris. Business owners all took a huge hit with a loss of business on what should have been a big October fishing and holiday weekend. Margins are tight, and this kind of loss creates a lot of worry. The off-season is tough here, and so if people seem pre-occupied with other thoughts, it might be because they are worried about making it through the next six to eight months. Some businesses will be a total loss. Others might not have suffered any damage at all. Such are the vagaries of wind and tide.
At our motel, we will be cleaning out sand for some time. The storm pushed a lot of water through. The parking lot will likely not be pristine. We lost both propane tanks for the pool and hot tub, so unfortunately we have to close the pool area for the season. It was about time anyway, but the storm has forced the issue. We lost some shingles and will be meeting with roofers for estimates and time frames. We are currently going room to room removing plywood and checking for water damage to the HVAC units. All of this takes some time, and while we may not be at 100% we will do what we can to make your stay the kind of stay you expect at Cape Hatteras Motel. We are certain all other businesses have the same plans and goals. What we ask of you is to pack a little extra patience and please, please, please drive carefully on the roads, especially this week. We look forward to seeing you beginning Tuesday, October 11, and hope Highway 12 will be re-opening between now and then!
We also wish to thank everyone for their words of concern and support over the past week. Trust us, it really helps you get through the storm!