OUTER BANKS, N.C. (Mark Price/The Charlotte Observer) - A savage nor’easter brought up to 4 feet of coastal flooding to the Carolina coast over the weekend, leading to bizarre moments as people were forced to share yards and highways with displaced wildlife.
The situation was best summed up in a photo shared Sunday by Carteret County Emergency Services, which showed a pickup driver facing off with gulls and pelicans that were shamelessly swimming on N.C. 12.
Crazier still, county officials shared video from the Sea Level community of a man in a winter coat and shorts fishing next to a mail box. Somewhere underneath the knee-deep flood water was a road.
“Sea level isn’t sea level anymore,” Keeley Forsythe wrote with her post of the video.
“It’s high tide, da flounder is eatin’ da collards!” said a gobsmacked Rebecka Brown on Facebook.
Forsythe didn’t say whether the fisherman caught anything, but reported there were no trout to be had.
Schools remained closed on Cape Hatteras Monday due to the weather, the Dare County school system reported.
The extent of damage along the coast was still being assessed Monday, but it was bad enough that N.C. 12 was closed — less than a week after damage from Hurricane Dorian was repaired.
N.C. 12 is the major artery that connects the Outer Banks to the mainland, and a closure brings island traffic to a halt.
The state Department of Transportation tweeted that it will keep the highway closed between the Marc Basnight Bridge and Rodanthe until the damage can be assessed.
Ocean water and sands began spilling into the travel lanes on Saturday. A breach eventually formed at the Mirlo Dune near Oregon Inlet, state officials said.
Ocracoke Island was particularly hard hit with Hurricane Dorian flooding, and the Ocracoke Current reported Monday that “there are four places where the dune was knocked down” along N.C. 12 over the weekend.
“Photos from the north end of Ocracoke are disheartening,” according to the Current. “The area that was damaged in Hurricane Dorian was almost repaired, with an expected road opening date on November 22nd.”