Dorian’s wake: How did your favorite East Coast beaches fare?
Hurricane Dorian has dissipated as a post-tropical storm over the Atlantic Ocean near Greenland, but cities and counties along the U.S. East Coast and the Bahamas are still dealing with the aftermath of the storm.
Originally slated to slam Florida as a major storm, Dorian hovered over the Bahamas before turning up the coast and making a direct hit last week in North Carolina.
Here’s how areas — many popular with Western Pennsylvania vacationers — fared:
Dorian made landfall in the United States as a Category 1 storm in Cape Hatteras, N.C. NBC News reported almost all of Cape Hatteras was left without power after the eye of the storm passed over around 9 a.m. Friday.
Now, much of the National Seashore — a 56-mile stretch of the Southern Outer Banks that includes Cape Hatteras — is closed to visitors as officials assess the stabilization of beaches.
“The National Parks Service lost some cabins from their campground,” said Kara Doran, physical scientist with the U.S. Geological Service. “There are just hundreds of breaches (inlets) cut through the island, which we did not expect. They appear to have been caused by the storm surge from the sound side of the island rather than the ocean.”
Almost 70 National Park Services employees from across the nation are responding to the Cape Lookout National Seashore to assess damage, according to the National Park Service Incident Management Team website, which cited major damage to infrastructure at the Long Point cabin camp and damage to historic structures at Portsmouth Village from flooding and wind.
Reservations for the Long Point Cabins have been canceled for the remainder of the season and the Great Island Cabins reservations have been canceled through Sunday.
The Beaufort Visitor Information Center reopened Tuesday, and the Harkers Island Visitor Center and ferry service planned to reopen Wednesday.
Duck, Salvo, Roanoke Island and Dare beaches on the Outer Banks reopened as of Tuesday, according to the Visit the Outer Banks Facebook page. Unrestricted access for Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, Manteo, Colington Island and Martin’s Point began Sunday. Visitors are asked to check with their accommodations provider before traveling to the area.
The rest of Hatteras Island, however, is still in the cleanup process after the storm. As of Sunday, priority three reentry went into effect, meaning non-resident property owners and employees of non-critical businesses were allowed access along with residents.
Doran said beach and dune erosion was found, particularly along the undeveloped national seashore. Sand from overwash was found along the roadways in Rodanthe and Kitty Hawk.
While Dorian sidled up the coast, the eye of the storm was roughly 20 miles from a devastating outcome, Charleston-based Post and Courier reported, with officials originally predicting storm surge between 4 and 7 feet.
And up the South Carolina coast, Doran predicted a 100% chance of beach erosion. But, “the impacts seem maybe a little less severe than predicted,” Doran said.
Shawn Smetana, spokesperson for Charleston County, said the area is open for business. He said no major damage was reported along the Charleston coast, adding all major thoroughfares and the Charleston International Airport is operating as usual.
Up the coast in Myrtle Beach, city spokesperson Mark Kruea said the beach held up well.
“It may be a little flatter than before, but the waves did not break the sand fencing or the dunes so it looks very good,” he said. “If it had come 30 miles closer to the shore, we’d be having a different conversation. But luckily it stayed away.”
The State newspaper, based in Columbia, reported Pawleys Island, south of Myrtle Beach, sustained sand loss and a storm drain along North Myrtle Beach carried enough stormwater to create a crater.
North Myrtle Beach sustained two tornadoes, but businesses in the area are up and running.
Sara Corbett, spokesperson for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Charleston, said officials were analyzing the beaches for damage and will assess the need for beach renourishment in the coming days.
Georgia and Florida
Despite becoming a Category 3 hurricane off the coast of Georgia, Dorian left little to no damage along the beaches, said Lisa Rodriguez-Presly, executive affairs supervisor with the Georgia Emergency Management division.
Rodriguez-Presly said there was some beach erosion, but added, “We were really fortunate.”
Officials are currently working to clean up debris from wind and rain.
Almost all Florida beaches are open, according to Visit Florida. Dorian was originally slated to hit the state as a major storm, causing evacuations and hurricane preparations.
But after sitting over the Abacos islands as a Category 5 storm, wreaking havoc on residents and so far leaving 50 dead, according to ABC News, the storm turned up the coast. CNN reported that southern islands are open to visitors. About 60% of the country’s revenue comes from tourism.
Despite a close call for the East Coast, hurricane season is far from over. It officially ends Nov. 30.
The National Hurricane Center is currently monitoring three systems in the Atlantic, although they have little likelihood of developing into hurricanes.
Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, [email protected] or via Twitter .