Currituck assessing storm damage to beaches


Erosion damage to the sand dunes on the Currituck beaches in Corolla caused by a nor'easter earlier this month are shown in this recent photograph.


By William F. West
Staff Writer

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

CURRITUCK — Currituck officials are working on a damage assessment to beach dunes and beach-access walkways on the county’s Outer Banks following a recent nor’easter.

Mary Beth Newns, emergency management director for Currituck County, said the nor’easter that struck the East Coast earlier this month packed both winds and waves strong enough to take a huge chunk out of the county’s Outer Banks. 

"The winds created the rough surf, which ate away at the dune," Newns said Monday. "So, we have a lot of dune missing."

Newns said the impact on the Outer Banks from the approximately 50-mph winds can been seen all the way from the North Carolina-Virginia border to the Currituck-Dare County line.

She said wooden sand-facings on the dunes have either been damaged or obliterated. Wooden debris litters the coastline.

As for the dunes themselves, she said, "There's places where it's probably cut away three or four feet. And there are other places where you go across the walkways onto the beach, there's a three-foot drop.

"So, if you're picturing the shoreline, where the beach kind of does a gradual incline and then you get to the dune, (the storm) basically cut a piece of the dune off," she said.

Newns said the county is working with private organizations to assess the damage. She’s hoping to hear more specifics once the weather clears up.

"I would hope by the end of the week we would have a better picture of what's going on," Newns said.

Asked if repairs to the beaches can be repaired by the end of May, in time for the start of the summer tourist season, she believes they can.

"I think by the time we get to that point, we'll have the beach ready for everyone," Newns said. 

She said the beach-access walkways will also be fixed.