Rough surf damages Outer Banks pier; highway cleanup begins after days of flooding

Rough waves and winds from a storm far offshore battered the Outer Banks over the weekend, closing a portion of the main north-south highway and collapsing part of the Avon Pier.

North Carolina Department of Transportation crews battled high tides to keep sand and waves off NC 12 as the storm washed over the highway, finally reopening the road Saturday night, the DOT said.

The road reopened late Saturday, but the storm left sections of Avon Fishing Pier on Hatteras Island collapsed, according to the National Parks Service.

“The storm the last 2 days (has) took a huge beating to our Pier,” Avon Pier representatives said on Facebook over the weekend.

“Yesterday we were aware of some damage but when we went through another high tide overnight and early this morning, We have suffered extensive damage to a couple sections on the Pier. We will be opening the first part of the Pier for limited fishing in the next couple days,” according to the pier Facebook page.

The pier, originally built in the 1960s, is part of Cape Hatteras National Seashore but operated in partnership with a private company, according to the National Parks Service.

The Parks Service said “the Seashore is committed to working with the pier managers to fully assess the damages and evaluate options to repair and restore access.”

“For many years, the Seashore’s concessionaire has done an excellent job of providing high quality visitor services for park visitors,” the Parks Service said.

The overwash came from a storm far offshore now known as Tropical Storm Melissa, which continues to track away from the coast about 400 miles south of Newfoundland, according to the National Weather Service and the Island Free Press.

“The morning high tide produced no major overwash issues. Both lanes of NC12 remain open, but there is still standing water in several locations, so drive with caution and SLOW DOWN. Thanks for your patience as we dealt with the effects of this storm,” the NC DOT said Sunday.

Crews had been able to open the road for short windows in the tides, but many people were stranded on the island waiting out the storm, according to OBX Today.

Photos and video shared on social media show the tides on Hatteras Island washing over the dunes, pushing sand and salt water over the island as the tides flooded NC 12.

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Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.