Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Ocracoke....

......but didn't know who to ask!

For a limited time I am offering to answer (if I can, or am willing!) your questions about the island. Surely, you've had questions but didn't know where to go to get answers. History, people, wildlife, politics, geology........ I won't always know the answers, of course, but I'll try to find out for you if I don't know.

Just post a comment with your question and I'll answer them in the order I receive them. If I get too many questions I'll just call a halt to it.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Monday, August 30, 2004

A Very Practical Note

If you've sent us an email message in the last few days and are expecting a reply, please have patience. Our web site server (through whom we get our messages) has had technical difficulties and our messages have been cached.. We have not received any mail except internet orders (those we can access through a secure web site hosted by our shopping cart provider). Tech support assures us that all messages will be delivered soon.

Ocracoke has been breezy today, but there's been no rain since early morning. It is too windy to enjoy the beach, however, so I took my daily walk in the village with my daughter Amy and grandson Lachlan. Everyone agrees he is a cutie. Amy, David, and Lachlan are doing just great. And so is Opa.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Random Island News

Schools are mostly back in session now and the island is getting quieter. This afternoon I found a stretch of beach and didn't see a soul for the entire time I was there. I walked and swam and lay in the sun. The clouds were massive and as white as newly fallen snow. It was heaven!

No word yet about the search for the Civil War era submarine, Alligator. I believe the Navy research ship leaves soon. But we'll let you know if we hear any exciting news.

Tropical storms and hurricanes are in the news again. At this point it doesn't look like they'll be a threat to Ocracoke, but we're watching carefully. In the meanwhile we're just enjoying a gorgeous end of summer and looking forward to one of the best seasons of all, Fall.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Hunting for the Alligator

No, not the Florida kind. This Alligator is green and made of metal. The US Navy's very first submarine was launched May 1, 1862. It was 47' long and 4' 8" at the beam. Invented by Brutus de Villeroi, it first employed 22 crewmen with oars, but was later converted to a screw propeller for propulsion.

After several aborted missions the Aligator was bound for South Carolina to participate in the capture of Charleston harbor. On April 2, 1863, during a fierce storm off Cape Hatteras, the submarine, which was being towed by the USS Sumpter, was cut adrift to prevent the sinking of the Sumpter.

Early this week the US Navy's Office of Naval Research (on their 108' "Afloat Lab") docked in Silver Lake harbor. In conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration they have launched a search for the lost Alligator.

We've heard no word yet about the mission, but you can follow their progress here: http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/alligator.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Another Beautiful End-of-Summer Day

I love to go to the beach in late August, September, and early October. It's the best time for lots of reasons. The water is still delightfully warm, the beach isn't nearly as crowded (compared to so many other beaches, I guess it never is crowded), and as the air cools a little, it's not so hot, either. Today I found a "pool." The water was only about chest deep, but it was deep enough to swim. The waves were gentle, but fun. I swam, floated, dived under the waves, and just let the peacefulness sink in (no one was anywhere near me). The ocean is a great refresher and rejuvenator. There is no place like it.On a practical note -- I have published a couple of comments on the daily journal entry for August 21, 2004. I didn't have time to respond right away because there's been a lot going on for me lately. (My daughter, Amy, stopped working to care for her new baby, and my good friend, Lou Ann, stopped working to return to her teaching job, so guess who is filling in. Also, the old house rehabilitation project is moving right along, and, although I'm not pounding nails, it's still a lot to think about.). The comments are about Mike Piland, Ocracoke postmaster, and my writing style. You can read the comments here: http://villagecraftsmen.blogspot.com/2004/08/ocracoke-post-office.html

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Sleeping Easier

Jim O'Brien and his crew have been doing a fantastic job this week rehabilitating my grandparents' home. For those of you who have been wondering about the progress of this project, you can read the latest news at http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/howardhome0804.htm.

Before the end of the work day today the rear roofs were structurally sound, sheathed, tarpapered, and covered with additional material to prevent leaks. Thunderstorms and rain squalls were threatening all afternoon.

Work should begin on the front roofs next week, and, if the weather cooperates, we're hoping to have all of the roofs shingled by the end of next week. It is a very exciting project, especially imagining the home full of life and love and family and friends.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Something's Got to Give

What gorgeous weather we've been having! After work today (I worked from 9 - 3:30) I headed directly to the beach. The tide was high and the waves and currents were strong, but the water was warm and inviting. I stayed about an hour, then came home to fix my supper. Afterwards I visited my old house to see what the carpenters had done for the day. Then I walked across the lane to see cousin Blanche. She entertained me for almost 2 hours about Ocracoke's old-time childhood games, storms, shipwrecks, and island history.

I'm back home again -- with dirty dishes to wash, laundry to do, emails to answer, bills to pay, floors to vacuum, and photos to upload to our web site. Maybe I'll just make a phone call to Lou Ann, instead, and then go to bed! Like Alonzo Howard used to say, "If work interferes with pleasure, give up work."

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

A Beautiful Day at the Beach

Unfortunately, I didn't make it to the beach today......but yesterday and the day before were just wonderful. There was a slight breeze, and it was warm. The sun was shining (at least in the afternoon) and the waves were gentle. No undertow and no rip currents. Just rolling waves and breakers made to slide under and come back up on the other side. It was even perfect for swimming. What more could I ask for? Well, it would have been ever so much nicer if Lou Ann were back on the island! She loves the ocean at least as much as I do. So I'll just appreciate this special place as much as possible until she comes back at another time.

Monday, August 23, 2004

The "Victoria S"

It's partly cloudy today with a light breeze. No signs of any storms and we're glad of that. The situation was similar 79 years ago to the day when the schooner "Victoria S" wrecked on Ocracoke beach (the same vessel that washed farther up the beach on this same date in 1933 during a fierce hurricane).

My father and grandfather saw this ship making peculiar maneuvers offshore the evening before. My grandfather speculated that the captain was just waiting until nightfall to "run her aground" for the insurance money. Sure enough the "Victoria S" wrecked that night.

1933 Hurricane

One of the worst storms to hit Ocracoke was on August 22 & 23, 1933. Strong northeast winds brought water knee deep into the village. The hull of the "Victoria S" (wrecked in 1925) washed up on the beach. Docks were swept away and cottages damaged. Most small boats in the harbor were sunk or "smashed up," and debris was scattered all over the island.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Ocracoke Post Office

The Post Office has long been at the center of community life on the island. In the first half of the 20th century, before ferries and paved roads, the mailboat was Ocracoke's primary link to the outside world. The trip across the sound took about 4 hours. Islanders would gather at the mailboat dock in late afternoon waiting for letters, packages, relatives, and news from the mainland. It was the perfect time to visit with neighbors, share stories, and hear what was going on around the village.

The first Post Office was established on Ocracoke on this date in 1840. William H. Howard was appointed postmaster. Today, a modern Post Office is located at the edge of town, not along the harbor as in years past. People come and go throughout the day and the pace is a bit quicker, but the Post Office, with its bulletin board full of notices, is still an important center for news and information.

Friday, August 20, 2004

117 Years Ago

Today the weather has been hot, but beautiful, with clear skies, unlike this date in 1887 when a "fresh gale" brought a "full rough tide" with "driving rain" and "fearful sea running over the beach." This was according to my great-grandfather's report from the US Life Saving Station at Hatteras Inlet.

As a result of the stormy weather, two schooners (the "Cherybin" & the "A.J. Marine") both wrecked at Hatteras Inlet on this date in 1887. Fortunately, no lives were lost or cargo damaged. Both boats were refloated relatively undamaged.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Display Problems

We're sorry about our journal's display problems. Apparently the "Blogger" folks who host the journal have made some internal changes that are incompatible with our custom design. We understand that they are working on trying to fix the problem. In the meanwhile the journal and all of our posts is still available, though just in black & white.

Portsmouth Island Trivia

Portsmouth village, just across Ocracoke Inlet, was at one time a thriving community. Census records indicate the following population figures:



Wednesday, August 18, 2004

A Gorgeous Day!

Today has been sunny and clear with temperatures in the low 80's and a light breeze. A perfect day for working outdoors, or taking a stroll on the beach. The island is relatively quiet since many North Carolina schools are already in session. If you can get away, come on out to the island and enjoy our beautiful weather.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

The August Storm of 1899

One of the worst storms to pummel Ocracoke Island was on August 16, 1899. Winds reached at least 120 miles per hour. I neglected to mention this yesterday because work on my grandparents' home overshadowed it. By the way, I will be posting photos of the old house rehabilitation on a fairly regular basis here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/howardhome0804.htm. There's not much to show yet, but I think work will be progressing rather quickly real soon.

Back to the 1899 storm......Islanders have a long tradition of teasing one another and laughing at each other's mistakes. An Ocracoker was heard to say years ago, "Now didn't that old August storm strike the island sometime in September?"

Monday, August 16, 2004


This morning as I was in my outdoor shower I heard the distinctive sounds of contractors and carpenters beginning work on the historic rehabilitation of my grandparents' home. I was elated to know they were actually starting the project after so many delays.

And immediately my elation was mixed with fear. Will everything go well? Will we be able to preserve as much of the house as we are hoping? How much will it cost? Will we have to contend with more hurricanes before it is completed?

And then I was saddened to remember that Lou Ann left yesterday to start another year of teaching in Indiana, and she was so hoping to see this project get underway. But I know she will be back for an off-season visit before too long. And in the days to come I will post a few photos as the recostruction project progresses.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

A Practical Note

Although Ocracoke's state of emergency has been lifted and the island is again open to visitors, Village Craftsmen will remain closed today. We will reopen tomorrow, Monday, August 16, at 9:00 am.

All is well, and we hope to see you on the island soon.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

State of Emergency Lifted

Hurricane Charley has come and gone with little effect on Ocracoke. Winds picked up later this afternoon, but it's calm now and we've had only a few sprinkles. No flooding at all. Following is the latest official notice from Hyde County officials.

August 14, 2004

HYDE COUNTY, NC: Effective 5:00 am, Sunday, August 15, the State of Emergency and mandatory evacuation procedures put into place prior to Hurricane Charley’s arrival will be lifted for both Mainland Hyde County and Ocracoke Island.

Ferry service to Ocracoke, which was discontinued as the storm approached, will resume on August 15. Travelers who are planning to visit the island are reminded that they should make reservations for both the Cedar Island (800-856-0343) and Swan Quarter(800-773-1094) ferries. The Hatteras ferry does not require reservations. The NC Ferry Division can be reached at 800-BY-FERRY or http://www.ncferry.org/

The Hyde County Chamber of Commerce can be reached at 888-493-3826. The latest information is also on-line at www.hydecounty.org

Good News for Ocracoke

As of now tropical storm Charley seems to have bypassed Ocracoke. The day has been gray and overcast but hardly a drop of rain has fallen and there is only a light breeze. We feel very thankful to have been spared this time, while also sad for the folks who bore the brunt of this powerful storm.

We have not yet heard any word about lifting the state of emergency.

Hurricane Charley

At the moment, Ocracoke is quiet with hardly a breath of wind. We are hoping that hurricane Charley will pass us by with minimal impact. However, visitors have been evacuated and residents are watching and preparing for at least some effects as Charley moves north.

The following information was provided by Hyde County:

On Friday the Hyde County Emergency Mangagement Office issued a State of Emergency Proclamation and a mandatory evacuation order for Ocracoke Island, beginning at 5:00 pm.

Also, the National Park Service personnel at Cape Hatteras National Seashore notified the public that several of their facilities, including Ocracoke Campground would close at noon, August 13 due to predicted rainfall and flooding conditions. The campgrounds are not scheduled to reopen until the grounds have dried out.

Travelers who were planning to visit the county in the upcoming days should check with officials before beginning their trip. The NC Ferry Division can be reached at 800-BY-FERRY. The Hyde County Chamber of Commerce can be reached at 888-493-3826. The latest information is also on-line at www.hydecounty.org

Friday, August 13, 2004

Remnants of Bonnie

It has been breezy today, with occasional rain showeres, some heavy. But blue skies are peeking through as well.

Everyone on the island is concerned for the folks on the west central Florida coast. We are hoping that hurricane Charley's punch is weaker than expected, and, of course, keeping an eye on his progress. Otherwise, island life is getting back to normal for most of us who were spared Alex's flood waters in our homes.

Thursday, August 12, 2004


Tropical systems "Bonnie" & "Charley" are heading north it seems. At this time forcasters don't expect them to impact Ocracoke and the Outer Banks like Alex did. Nevertheless we're preparing for quite a bit of rain. And, as we all know, these storms can be unpredictable, so we'll keep a watchful eye on both.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Lachlan Wesley Photos

For all of our family members (and anyone else who is interested) I have published several more photos of our newest Tweedie/Howard baby, Lachlan Wesley (this is the correct spelling). Lachlan, Amy, and David (as well as all of the grandparents) are happy and content.

Just click on the photo or the link below the photo to see a larger image.

Click here to see a larger image of Lachlan.

Click here to see a larger image of Amy & Lachlan.

Click here to see a larger image of Pat, Steve, & Lachlan.

Click here to see a larger image of David & Lachlan.

Ocracoke Inlet

Although all other Outer Banks inlets have come and gone within recorded history, Ocracoke Inlet has remained continuously open. In maps drawn in 1584-1587 by John White, English explorer, he identified the inlet as Wokokon. The Raleigh expedition anchored at Wokokon at the end of June, 1585, on their way to Roanoke Island.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

The Night Sky

A number of years ago the National Park Service sponsored a single nighttime beach program during a total lunar eclipse. A knowledgeable astronomer was on hand to point out constellations and answer questions. As the earth's shadow covered the silvery moon those present began to gasp when the prominent white band of the Milky Way came into view. The astronomer made a special point of identifying this awesome feature of the night sky.

I remember wondering why he kept pointing and doing his best to make sure everyone was aware of the Milky Way. "Why, it's always out here, whenever the sky is dark," I thought. "All you have to do is look up into the sky to see it."

And then it occurred to me, "Most of these folks come from the city. Maybe they can't see the Milky Way whenever they want to."

Last night we walked out to the beach. The night was crystal clear and the stars were strewn across the heavens in extravagant numbers. We lay down on a blanket and searched the sky for shooting stars. Only a few were to be seen, but the Milky Way was painted across the dome of heaven in spectacular fashion. What an awesome sight!

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Ocracoke Newsletters

We published another Ocracoke Newsletter on August 1, but our email notification process was aborted because of hurricane Alex. Also, we've recently had problems with AOL tagging our emails as "unsolicited" and not delivering them.

You can read our two most recent newsletters here:

The Search for Blackbeard's Skull (July 01, 2004), http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news070104.htm

A History of the Ocracoke Lighthouse (August 01, 2004), http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news080104.htm

We hope you enjoy them.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

More Cleanup

What an exhausting day! Outdoor electrical outlets to check for salt & corrosion, 3 window air conditioners to install (all of our ductwork under the building was destroyed by the flood waters), Howard Street to grade (again, flood waters contributed to huge potholes), bicycles, trash cans, picnic table, & boardwalks to hose down and clean off, flower pots to salvage (all the plants were killed by the salt water), etc., etc. There is still quite a lot to do. But I think we're ready to open Village Craftsmen in the morning! Couldn't have done it without Lou Ann's help.

Finally, it's time to take showers, order burgers from Howard's Pub, drink a cold beer, and enjoy a video.

Thanks to everyone who sent messages of concern and offers of assistance. It has been quite an ordeal, and we really appreciate all of your good thoughts.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Re-entry Saturday, August 07, 2004

OCRACOKE: Hyde County officials have reported that restrictions for entry onto Ocracoke Island will be lifted, effective at 6:00 am, Saturday, August 7, 2004.

Visitors to the island are reminded that they need reservations for the Swan Quarter and/or Cedar Island ferries. The Hatteras ferry does not require reservations. For more information, visit the NC Ferry Division website at www.ncferry.org or call 1-800-BY-FERRY. The Swan Quarter ferry may be reached at 1-800-773-1094. The Cedar Island ferry may be reached at 1-800-856-0343.

For information about the Cape Hatteras National Park Service Campground on Ocracoke, visit their website at www.nps.gov or call 1-800-365-CAMP.

Alex Links

Many thanks to Warner Passanisi for passing along these Hurricane Alex Stories....






http://www.avalonpier.com/piercam.html ... Avalon Fishing Pier, Kill Devil Hills, NC, live webcam







http://www.wral.com/slideshow/news/3614506/detail.html?qs=;s=4;p=news;dm=ss;w=320 ... Howard's Pub





http://home.hamptonroads.com/stories/story.cfm?story=68408&ran=194349 ... FEMA will take closer look at Isabel flood-insurance claims

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Latest Information from Hyde County

Date: August 5, 2004



OCRACOKE: On Ocracoke, residents and business owners have begun cleaning up after Hurricane Alex. The August 3 storm left the island virtually covered in several feet of water. Several hundred vehicles were flooded along with numerous homes and buildings. No loss of life or serious injury has been reported.

Hyde County officials began a mandatory evacuation of all non-resident, non-property owners effective at 6:00 am, today, August 5, due to potential hazards to public health. This measure has been taken to give the island a chance to recover and make necessary repairs. The island is under a State of Emergency and travel to the island is restricted until further notice.

Tideland Electric Membership Corp. reports that full power was restored to the island by 10:25 pm on Wednesday, August 4. Tideland crews are to be commended for their fast recovery work, installing over 20 downed poles and lines in less than twelve hours!

Hyde Transit is providing transportation for evacuees arriving at the Swan Quarter Ferry terminal who need to rent a vehicle. Enterprise Rent A Car in Washington, NC is working with the Hyde County Chamber of Commerce to make sure they have sufficient cars to serve those in need.

Hyde Transit was also prepared to take evacuees who were awaiting family to pick them up, to the Mattamuskeet School campus where a staging area and shelter manned by the American Red Cross had been established. Reports indicate that no evacuees used that facility on Wednesday evening.

The Salvation Army is also on hand on Ocracoke with hot meals as it was reported than only two restaurants on the island were open for business. A second Army canteen had been set up to serve those at Mattamuskeet School.

Travelers who were planning to visit the island in the upcoming days should check with officials before beginning their trip. The NC Ferry Division can be reached at 800-BY-FERRY. The Hyde County Chamber of Commerce can be reached at 888-493-3826. Dean Burbage, Emergency Manager can be reached at the county offices at 252-926-4372. The latest available information is also on-line at www.hydecounty.org .

Persons wishing to help island residents may make donations to the Hyde County Disaster Relief Fund at any branch of the East Carolina Bank, or by mail: c/o Hyde County CDC, PO Box 295, Swan Quarter, NC 27885.


Hurricane Alex is the most destructive storm to hit Ocracoke in 60 years. There were no serious injuries or major damage. However the village has been declared a disaster area. More than 200 homes had tidewater inside, and several hundred automobiles were flooded beyond repair. The tide on Howard Street was 9" higher than in Hurricane Isabel.

All visitors are being evacuated today. Reliable electric power, and phone & internet service has only recently been restored.

Although not as many trees went down as last year, chain saws are heard throughout the village. I was just told that a house burned down in Oyster Creek. Apparently someone started a car that had been flooded. A short in the electrical circuit caused an explosion which set the vehicle on fire, and then it spread to the house. We're told that no one was hurt.

We have been helping neighbors and friends deal with significant water damage, but hope to be able to process internet orders no later than tomorrow.

We expect the island to be open to visitors early next week.

Here are a few photos taken August 3, 2004:

To view a larger image, click here.

To view a larger image, click here.

To view a larger image, click here.

To view a larger image, click here.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Message from Hyde County Officials

OCRACOKE: Hurricane Alex brushed the shores of Ocracoke on August 3 and while it did not make direct landfall on the island, it has left behind a wake of damage and misery. With wind gusts recorded at 120 mph and sustained wind of 80 mph, an excess of 4 feet of water swept over the island, leaving residents and visitors vehicles flooded along with some homes and businesses.

No loss of life or serious injury has been reported. Tideland Electric Membership Cooperative reports over 20 utility poles down, but help is already on the way with equipment and manpower leaving Mainland Hyde County by ferry early on the morning of August 4. Meanwhile, the island is getting its temporary power from a generator on a rotating basis. Due to the electrical demand, the generator is not sufficient to power the entire island at one time, or continuously, but Tideland officials report that they hope to have repairs made quickly.

Ferry service, which was discontinued as the storm approached, will resume on August 3, after the U. S. Coast Guard has determined that the channels are free of debris and safe for passage. A state of emergency has been declared on the island which means that only emergency vehicles and personnel will be allowed to travel to the island until further notice. Residents who can produce a valid NC driver’s license will be allowed to re-enter on a space available basis.

The Salvation Army from Washington, NC will also be arriving on the island on August 3 with hot meals from their canteens. Late Tuesday evening Maj. Kenneth Clewis of the Salvation Army was scrabbling to get supplies and ready the equipment for the trip. The organization played an essential role on Mainland Hyde County following Hurricane Isabel, less than eleven months ago.

County officials have released the following information regarding persons desiring to evacuate the island via the Swan Quarter ferry: “Parties wishing to evacuate Ocracoke Island via the Swan Quarter ferry must walk on the ferry with their luggage and possessions.”

“Transportation for all parties and their possessions will be provided from the Swan Quarter ferry site on the Mainland to the Mattamuskeet School Gymnasium, located at 20370 US Highway 264, {east of Swan Quarter} which will serve as a temporary staging area and shelter for all persons evacuating to Hyde County Mainland.”

“Enterprise Rental Car will arrange for vans to pick up persons needing services of a rental vehicle. The party will be taken to the nearest Enterprise Rental Car Franchise.”

“For those arranging their own transportation from Hyde County Mainland, the designated pickup point is Mattamuskeet School Gymnasium, 20370 US Highway 264, Swan Quarter, NC.”

Jeffrey Stotesberry, Swan Quarter Volunteer Fire Chief, will be setting up the county’s American Red Cross shelter, which consists of cots and blankets for the evacuees at the school gymnasium. The Salvation Army will provide hot meals at the site beginning mid-afternoon on August 3.

Travelers who were planning to visit the island in the upcoming days should check with officials before beginning their trip. The NC Ferry Division can be reached at 800-BY-FERRY. The Hyde County Chamber of Commerce can be reached at 888-493-3826. Dean Burbage, Emergency Manager can be reached at the county offices at 252-926-4372.

Persons wishing to help island residents may make donations to the Hyde County Disaster Relief Fund at any branch of the East Carolina Bank, or by mail: c/o Hyde County CDC, PO Box 295, Swan Quarter, NC 27885.


Just a quick note this morning.

Everyone is safe and there is no major damage on the island. However, everything is a mess. Wood, branches, propane tanks, etc. are scattered all over the village. Water is still standing in low places. Boardwalks and some docks have floated across lawns and roads. At least one vehicle was totaled when a tree fell on it. Two cars burned up when the owners tried to start them after the flood.

I don't have any word yet about Hatteras or the mainland.

I have a few photos, but I don't have time to transfer them and manipulate them for the web. We'll all be busy today cleaning up. Neighbors have had water in their homes and there is much cleanup work to do. Look for photos at a later date.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Hurricane Alex Aftermath

Gusts at the Ocracoke ferry office were reported to be as high as 120 mph. Sustained winds were probably 80-100 mph. But the biggest surprise was the tide. After noon today the wind shifted and brought some of the highest tides Ocracoke has ever experienced. Older residents report that only in the 1944 storm was the tide up so high. Numerous homes had water in them, some as deep as several feet. Residents of the Jackson Dunes area reported water as deep as 6-7 feet. On Howard Street the tide came in 6 inches higher than hurricane Gloria in 1995.

All sorts of debris is scattered throughout the village and on the streets. Several trees are down, at least one dock has been destroyed, a small skiff was sunk, hundreds of automobiles have been lost to the tide, and some homes have lost shingles and/or ductwork, but no major damage has been reported, and as far as I know, there has been no injury or loss of life.

I have heard no news about surrounding islands and villages, nor have I heard about the condition of Highway 12.

Electric power is still out, and the island is full of visitors, as well as residents, who were caught by surprise by this powerful storm.

Power's Out

Just a quick note on battery power. Everything is OK, but winds are howling!

Will write later.


Don't have many photos, but thought you would like to see this one of the harbor about 9 am this morning:

Click here for a larger image.

Also, here's a photo of Lochlan Wesley, just a few hours old:

Click here for a larger image.

Hurricane Alex, 11:15 a.m.

Winds are definitely increasing, and the rain is torrential. Most recent information suggests that the intensity of the storm is increasing and that the western eye wall (with winds near 100 mph) will reach us in about an hour. Even on Howard Street trees are swaying wildly and the wind is howling. Even so, nothing seems dangerous, at least for now. No evidence of flood tides in the village yet.

I may or may not get photos to publish. Internet connections are slow, and we anticipate the power going off sometime later today. Also, we're staying inside!!

Hurricane Alex, 10:00 a.m.

It was calm but cloudy through most of the night. Rain began falling early in the morning. Wind has been picking up since then. We just came back from a quick visit to the beach. The wind is howling out there, blowing about 45 mph, maybe more, pelting bare legs with stinging sand. The surf is raging, but the tide is not even up to the dunes yet. No flooding at all in the village.

Check back periodically. I'll post more updates and photos as the storm progresses (as long as we have power and internet access).

In other news -- new baby Lochlan Wesley is healthy and strong. Mama & Papa (Amy & David) are very happy, and resting in the hospital in Elizabeth City. We expect them home after the storm passes. Look for photos in the journal later today.

Monday, August 02, 2004

A New Baby Boy!

What a day! My fourth grandchild was born today -- Lochlan Wesley Tweedie Howard. He is the 10th generation of the Howard family to live on Ocracoke. And....today is also my 60th birthday! What a wonderful birthday present.

Look for photos tomorrow (unless Tropical Storm Alex wreaks havoc on the island power and/or internet connections).

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Strong Currents

It's a beautiful first day of August. Blue sky, puffy clouds, and a light breeze. We're off to the beach, but will stay out of the water. An early tropical depression off the coast of South Carolina is contributing to rip currents along the Outer Banks.

Late last week a visitor was caught in a rip current and drowned. We join with all islanders in expressing our deepest sympathy for this tragedy.

When you come to the island, please enjoy our beach, but be extremely careful, especially when strong currents are present.