Posted by: coastlinesproject | August 27, 2011

Irene, surfer dies and severe erosion as Irene Strikes NC.

Attached from Star News:

Hurricane Irene’s early bands cause power failures and flooding

By Shannan Bowen
Published: Saturday, August 27, 2011 at 3:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, August 27, 2011 at 2:55 a.m.
NOTE: This story will be updated throughout the day.

Photo Galleries

Hurricane Irene at Night
Hurricane Irene hits UNCW
Hurricane Irene Arrives
When Hurricane Irene was about 140 miles southeast of Wilmington at 11 p.m. Friday, almost 20,000 people were without power in Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender counties, and emergency responders were busy fielding calls about downed power lines and trees and even complaints about hurricane parties.

Little should change as the storm churns north, but it was expected to weaken before it made landfall early Saturday near Morehead City.

The National Weather Service reported that the Category 2 hurricane, which is as large as California, had winds up to 100 mph, and a meteorologist in Wilmington’s weather service office said sustained winds at the local airport measured 45 mph. A 62 mph wind gust was reported at Johnnie Mercers Pier in Wrightsville Beach, and storm surge was expected to raise water levels by as much as 11 feet above ground level.

In Carolina Beach, Canal Drive – which is prone to flooding after even light rain events – had flooded from the town’s pier to the boardwalk, a distance of at least two miles. Nearby, the town’s marina – where several large charter and cruise boats are docked – overflowed and spilled into the streets.

Rainfall totaled 3.6 inches at 11:30 p.m. at the Wilmington airport, and heavy rain was forecast to drench the area for several more hours.

Conditions in Bald Head Island were so dangerous that emergency crews stopped responding to calls on the island, where vehicles are not allowed.

Progress Energy reported power failures to all customers on Figure Eight Island, a private gated island north of Wrightsville Beach, and to neighborhoods in Ogden, Myrtle Grove and central Wilmington.

Earlier in the evening, residents and visitors marveled at wild waves that crashed against piers and nearly covered all of beach strands.

Though they were both drenched and shivering, the Curry daughters – 7-year-old Savannah and 11-year-old Katlyn – stood barefoot watching the waves with their parents at Buddy’s Crabhouse in Surf City, which is in Pender County.

“I’ve grown up here all my life, and this is what I’ve always done,” said mom Stephanie Curry of coming out to see the waves.

Nearby, another local woman told tales of past piers that didn’t make it through hurricanes.

Buddy’s waitresses Rebecca Anderson and Alisha Barrett snapped photos with their smart phones. Anderson said the waves were the best she’s seen since Hurricane Bertha.

But they couldn’t stay out too late. Curfew was 8 p.m. and until noon Saturday for people in Topsail Island and Surf City.

Wind speeds and dangerous conditions also prompted officials to close bridges in Holden Beach and Sunset Beach, both in Brunswick County.

Hundreds of people left their homes and stayed overnight at shelters across the region, and a shelter in Burgaw reported that it was full early in the night.

Others, however, took the looming hurricane a bit lighter and camped out with drinks at the few bars and entertainment venues that stayed open.

Rick Catalano, manager of Pure Gold gentleman’s club, said he stayed open because of the potential to snag business since many other bars and clubs weren’t open. Only two dancers were working at 9 p.m., and the crowd was sparse.

Downtown, Lee Hauser, owner of The Liquid Room, said his bar would stay open until it lost power – that is, if the generator didn’t keep it on.

Irene’s eye should make its closest pass to Wilmington at about 6 a.m. Saturday.

The largest effects will be flooding, said meteorologist Steve Pfaff. As much as 10 inches of rain could fall over the easternmost areas, overwhelming drainage systems.

Officials in the area’s beach towns also are worried about the storm’s impact to the beach strand. The U.S. Geological Survey warned of significant coastal erosion.

Shannan Bowen: 343-2016

On Twitter: @shanbow

Read more in William Sargent’s book “Just Seconds From the Ocean; Coastal Living in the Wake of Katrina,” and other books on

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: