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...