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Experiencing a Hurricane

Updated on January 3, 2015

As the Sun Sets in the Outer Banks

Oregon Inlet
Oregon Inlet | Source

The Day Before

Went to beautiful Oregon Inlet today. Wow! Totally breathtaking. We drove on the beach quite a distance and parked right next to the shore, planted our seats, and turned on the Jimmy Buffet tunes. Dolphins swam unnervingly close to shore. I know they are friendly, but was completely startled to see a large dorsal fin emerge 20 feet in front of me. A desert-looking area filled the space behind us, completely covered with thousands of shells. We had a blast treasure hunting for shells and other interesting finds.

On our way out we stopped at the marina across the street to see the catch from a charter boat. Eight massive tuna were hauled out of a cooler and the fisherman stood proudly as their pictures were taken. Stopped in the store there and overheard one of the employees telling someone that their beach access would be closed 6 am Thursday.

We stopped at the Tanger Outlet on the way back and got some deals. Once back to the beach house, we decided to walk up to the local store and get a few gallons of water. There was only one left; people must be stocking up.

Nine pm, turned on the news and there it was. Mandatory evacuation for all visitors to Dare County, which means Kitty Hawk and every city past that as well. We were hoping to stay till at least Friday, but my guess is that with hundreds of people leaving, it may take a while.

As of now, Irene has become a Category 3 hurricane with 115 mph winds and is expected to make landfall in North Carolina. Evacuations have begun in the Outer Banks.

Mandatory Evacuation

Evacuation started at 8:00am this morning for visitors to Dare County, North Carolina. Why so early? Irene is not supposed to make landfall until Saturday. Well, according to the Outerbanks Chamber of Commerce, the residential population of Dare County in 2010 was 33,920. Residents are expected to evacuate Friday morning. This makes since.

Today, as we reluctantly left, we met little traffic. That's when I felt thankful for the mandatory evacuation put in place. Can you imagine everyone leaving on Friday? OBX officials know what they are doing.

So, why did some visitors choose to stay, despite the mandatory evacuation? Some families were making their way to the beach. Perhaps they just arrived and wanted one day to be at the beach. It was absolutely beautiful today and oh so tempting to stay.

Driving down the beach road, we watched as several beach cottages were in the process of being boarded up. And on the radio, while newscasters were urging people to leave, a few of the local restaurants were calling all partiers to come celebrate with live music tonight and the next as well.

It's a Good Thing We Left

According to Tom Moore, Lead Meteorologist from the Weather Channel, "Major Hurricane Irene poses an extraordinary threat and is one that no one has yet experienced from North Carolina to the mid-Atlantic to the Northeast to New England."

Virginia is now under a state of emergency. We are home now, but the storm has yet to come.

Hurricane Categories

According to, hurricanes are classified into five categories, based on their wind speeds and potential to cause damage.

  • Category One -- Winds 74-95 miles per hour
  • Category Two -- Winds 96-110 miles per hour
  • Category Three -- Winds 111-130 miles per hour
  • Category Four -- Winds 131-155 miles per hour
  • Category Five -- Winds greater than 155 miles per hour

By the time Hurricane Irene hit the Outer Banks, it was a category one hurricane. Even so, you can see from the video footage below, the damage was extensive. The video gives an interesting glimpse of the hurricane, providing before, during, and after shots. It shows how the water recedes prior to the storm hitting, and then comes back with a powerful force.

A Video Produced by Someone Who Stayed


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