Saturday, August 05, 2006

Lord, Plant My Feet on Higher Ground....

....or at least park my car on higher ground.

A reader yesterday, in reference to my comment about parking our cars on higher ground as hurricanes approach, asked, "just...where IS the high ground and how do you get there?!"

Now that is a really good question. Ocracoke, as most of our readers know, is little more than a narrow, low, sliver of sand almost 25 miles out in the Atlantic Ocean. Not much higher ground out here. But it doesn't take much higher ground. Because we are so far off shore high tides usually just wash over the island from one side, and then drain off the other. Unlike mountainous regions where river water backs up along narrow canyons or steep banks, we never expect to have water deep enough to come anywhere near our roofs or even more than a few feet inside the first story. That's deep enough, of course, especially when clean-up time comes.

But we do like to be prepared. Any little hill or tussock will do if it keeps water below the floorboards of your car. One popular spot for vehicles is alongside the road that wraps around Silver Lake, across the "ditch" from the Coast Guard station. In WWII, when the Navy dredged the harbor for their vessels, they pumped the sand into the village to fill in low, marshy areas. Someone allowed more than the average spoil to be pumped along that western shore. As a result that is one of the highest spots in the village, and thus lined with cars as storms threaten.

You can read our latest newsletter here. It's about Ocracoke Islanders and "tokens of death."

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