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Outer Banks Withstanding Severe Winds, Heavy Rains

Flooding on NC 12 above Rodanthe, NC

Nearly a foot of rain has fallen around North Carolina’s Outer Banks this week, flooding roads and creating some photo moments. Sam Walker, with “Max Radio of the Carolinas” in Nags Head, said the main thing the bad weather impacts is travel.

He said the weather tends to affect people who only come down for the day, but it won’t deter everyone from visiting. 

“For the most part, people book their vacations on the Outer Banks for a week and they do so a year in advance,” he said. “So they’re coming no matter what.”

The winds and rainfall significantly impact places like Currituck County, where Walker said you need a four-wheel-drive vehicle to navigate the sand roads in that area. Currituck County declared a state of emergency because of flooding caused by the recent rainfall, according to The Outer Banks Voice.

He said the Outer Banks' well-known lighthouses have withstood the severe weather. “They just kind of stand there and take it,” Walker said.

What the winds and rains do affect, however, are the beaches themselves. Walker said beaches in the Outer Banks can develop cliffs, called escarpments, during severe weather.

Walker said these escarpments happen because waves deposit sand on the beach, and when rough waves come in, they "carve" the sand out. They can reach as high as ten feet at some of the Outer Banks beaches. But he said the cliffs are temporary.

“A week from now, those will be gone,” he said, “And things will kind of smooth back out.”

According to Walker, the Outer Banks is known for its severe weather. 

“That’s part of the living and the life of out here on a sandbar,” he said.

Mark Rumsey grew up in Kansas and got his first radio job at age 17 in the town of Abilene, where he announced easy-listening music played from vinyl record albums.