Outer Banks: Hurricane Irene – Before, During, & After – 8.28.11

Outer Banks: Hurricane Irene, After. Dad & child take in the devastation.

Outer Banks: Hurricane Irene, After. Dad & child take in the devastation.

Hurricane Irene has come and gone. And she left quite a path of destruction in her wake.

There was a lot of hype leading up to Ms. Irene’s arrival. A potential Category 3 or 4 storm eventually landed on the OBX as a Cat 1. We were all very happy to see Irene’s intensity diminish as she drew close to shore, but the realism of a major storm was always in the back of our minds. Unfortunately, even that realism did not prepare us for the destruction that was about to arrive.

Last Friday (Irene arrived late that night), I took a trip to Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head to get a pre-Irene beach report. It was a nice day, but the conditions were worsening, and it was clear some funky weather was on the way. So, I asked a professional OBX photographer to tag along to capture some of Outer Banks: Hurricane Irene, “Before.”  Luckily, Whitney of Whitney Norko Photography agreed to come, and we got some amazing before pictures.

Our plan was do to a “before” and “after” shoot of the same OBX landmarks. In a typical Outer Banks hurricane a before and after route along the “Beach Road” would make sense. But Hurricane Irene was not the typical OBX hurricane. This beast decided to attack the Sound instead of the ocean.

Around midnight on Friday the winds and rain began to pick up, and it was clear Ms. Irene had arrived. The winds and rain remained high throughout the night, but not overwhelmingly so. Around lunch time, my family and I decided to take a trip to the beach to see how things were, and to be honest, they were not terrible. The wind was whipping, and the sand felt like it was piercing my skin, but the beach and “Beach Road” were not seeing too much damage…some siding and shingles coming off homes, but not much significant damage. Here’s a link to my UStream video of the beach…not much to see, but you can get the effect of the wind.

After the trip, we adjourned home to take in the sites and sounds of the afternoon hurricane on the Sound. And the sites and sounds were eerily quiet. Foreshadowing of what was to come?

We took a walk out to the Sound, and it was amazingly empty! When Hurricane Irene began, here winds were blowing hard out of the East, and as a result, she blew almost ALL of the water out of the Sound. We walked 200 – 300 yards past the normal water line and THERE WAS NO WATER!

Here’s a link to my UStream video on the Sound. Unreal is all I can say.

Within a couple hours after I shot that video, everything changed for the worse. Fast! And with force!

Once the eye moved passed, the winds switched to the west/northwest, and all of that Sound water that was pushed out came back, with a vengeance.

Sound-side on the Outer Banks took a beating for about 6-8 hours before the water – and 4-6 foot waves – started to recede. As a result, there is extensive damage on the Sound-side.

Here’s my UStream video of some of the relentless water (storm surge) attacking the OBX…unfortunately, it cuts off, but you’ll get the point.

As a result of the Sound-side destruction from Hurricane Irene, our plans for a “before” and “after” photo shoot needed to be adjusted. Luckily, Whitney Norko Photography agreed to tag along again, and we were able to capture a lot of the OBX damage and devastation first hand.

I’ll warn you upfront, it’s ugly. Let the healing begin!

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15 comments on “Outer Banks: Hurricane Irene – Before, During, & After – 8.28.11
  1. Elizabeth Alberding says:

    Thanks so much for the coverage. We’re still hoping to make it down in September. The coverage on the sound as well as the before and afters pics were fabulous!

  2. Kim Reedy says:

    Adam so sorry about the sound I’ve heard you say that’s your quite place and a lot of photos on your reports I can see it !!! Time can an will heal all it can be restored So sorry the hurricane hit my favorite place all together……again I’m sure all are devestated but my lord what would have been if cat 3 or 4 …..I think you guys faired very well cosidering people have been amazed that it wasn’t any worse…..OBX IS TOUGH AND I SAY AND THE PEOPLE ARE OVERCOMERS !!! I’m very thankful that you guys made it through and it wasn’t a cat 3 or 4 again sorry for your loss again : ( I understand loss its not a good feeling I’ve had a lot of loss in my life but I’m an overcomer today I think aug 30 my mom would have had her 71st birthday but she’s gone…I know in my heart where she is but the loss is there and many other losses…you guys have my compassion and sympathy …it looks bad now but it can an will be restored to even better !!! You are a positive person I can tell don’t let this change you ….THE HEALING HAS BEGAN AND RESTORATION WILL FOLLOW !!! Just hang in there !!! A caring friend my best to you an your family,sorry I didn’t intend on writing a book ha ha ….TAKE CARE YOU HAVE EACH OTHER …..MY BEST ViBES TO OBX AND THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS !!! Kim : )

  3. Hi Kim. Thank you very much for your kind thoughts and words. We are getting back to normal as quickly as possible, and it feels better every day. :)

  4. Hi Elizabeth. Thanks for your kind words. We’re glad you found the updates helpful. Please come on down in September. We’re getting closer to “normal” everyday, and we’d love to welcome you to the Outer Banks.

  5. [...] continue our full coverage of Hurricane Irene, we hit the air to take a look at the aftermath and burgeoning recovery on Hatteras [...]

  6. [...] Highway 12 did see alot of damage during Irene, we are lucky enough to have parts of it back open and access to Hatteras Island restored. If you [...]

  7. [...] Then Hurricane Irene showed up! The massive storm forced a mandatory evacuation and threatened the presentation, but I was determined to follow this to fruition. Dinner was cancelled due to the evacuation, but I kept the Kitty Hawk office open late so our happy couple could stop by to check out. (By then, Kristen was in on the gesture, but not the details.) [...]

  8. [...] Not the most glamorous OBX topic, but definitely crucial. Thanks to that beast Hurricane Irene, there are a couple spots on the Outer Banks in desperate need of dredging…but that costs [...]

  9. [...] The Outer Banks is well known for strong collisions with Mother Nature. That will happen when a tiny ribbon of sand dangles out into the fierce waters of the Atlantic Ocean. We know this all to well with our most recent run-in with Hurricane Irene. [...]

  10. [...] project was a success. The Nags Head beach looks great, and while some of the sand was lost during Hurricane Irene, the beach held up relatively well, and most of the sand is still within the [...]

  11. [...] Irene Retired! I am psyched to pass on this love. Hurricane Irene is officially retired! We will never have to deal with that beast again. Good riddance [...]

  12. [...] Outer Banks: Hurricane Irene – Before, During & After [...]

  13. […] continue our full coverage of Hurricane Irene, we hit the air to take a look at the aftermath and burgeoning recovery on Hatteras […]

  14. […] Not the most glamorous OBX topic, but definitely crucial. Thanks to that beast Hurricane Irene, there are a couple spots on the Outer Banks in desperate need of dredging…but that costs […]

  15. […] Irene Retired! I am psyched to pass on this love. Hurricane Irene is officially retired! We will never have to deal with that beast again. Good riddance […]

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