Hurricane Irene

NCDOT

State transportation officials are working to permanently fix N.C. Highway 12 in Dare County. NCDOT officials say they are in the process of hiring a contractor to build a permanent bridge that will resist future washouts.  

Currently, a temporary metal bridge links where the roadway was destroyed by Hurricane Irene last year. 

Secretary Tony Tata said in an agency release that the project will be an important step in offering a reliable route to the Outer Banks for businesses, residents and visitors. 

Hurricane Ivan
NASA

Early forecasts predict an active hurricane season along the Atlantic coast. 

Researchers at Colorado State University expect 18 named storms this year.  They say four of those will likely be major storms at Category 3 or higher. 

William Gray, a professor emeritus in Colorado State's atmospheric science department, says this winter's ocean currents follow trends that lead to active storm activity in the tropics.

"This circulation has been especially strong," Gray says.

One year ago Hurricane Irene made landfall near Cape Lookout. The Category 1 storm was slow moving and lingered along the North Carolina coast, killing seven people and causing $1.2 billion in damage. Julia Jerema works for North Carolina Emergency Management. She says recovery efforts are not quite complete.

The Army Corps of Engineers says it will begin dredging the Hatteras Inlet channel on Saturday, and not a moment too soon for ferry passengers. Service on the Hatteras-Ocracoke route has been suspended several times since the weekend. Lucy Wallace is with the North Carolina Ferry Division.

More than a hundred coastal families displaced by Hurricane Irene faced a deadline yesterday to move out of mobile homes provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But North Carolina Emergency Management says all of them have been given a 30-day extension. Dawn Baldwin Gibson of the Pamlico County Disaster Recovery Coalition says many residents are still trying to get money for repairs from their insurance or mortgage companies.

Scientists are getting a better understanding of storm erosion on the Outer Banks. New technology developed by the Army Corps of Engineers is illuminating why storms damage certain spots and not others. Jesse McNinch is Director of the Corps' Field Research Facility in Duck.

Engineers from the state DOT meet with federal wildlife officials this afternoon to consider options for repairing Highway 12 on the Outer Banks. Storm surge from Hurricane Irene breached the highway in several spots on Hatteras Island. The options include beach re-nourishment, creating bridges above the existing road, or bridges that re-route the highway. But at issue in today's meeting is how the options might affect the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. Beth Smyre  is the DOT planning engineer who oversees the project.

Residents have a chance to weigh in on the state's emergency response to Hurricane Irene. Emergency management officials and forecasters are hosting public meetings this week in eastern North Carolina to review their communication tactics during the storm. Rich Bandy is the lead meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Newport.

Hurricane damaged Highway 12 on Hatteras Island is the subject of two public workshops this week. The only road along parts of the Outer Banks was breached in several places by Hurricane Irene in August. Traffic is rolling again on temporary fixes, but state officials want to move forward with permanent repairs. Greer Beatty works for North Carolina's Department of Transportation.

The deadline approaches for victims of Hurricane Irene to file flood insurance claims. Residents who experienced damage have until Wednesday to send a damage report to insurers that issued a National Flood Insurance Policy. This week's deadline is a 30-day extension of the original October cutoff. FEMA spokesman Jeff Welsh says that was in response to residents who were not satisfied with inspections immediately after Hurricane Irene.

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