This past Wednesday, March 7, marked the 50th anniversary of the devastating "Ash Wednesday Storm" that pummeled the Outer Banks in 1962.
The storm, which struck with very little warning, assaulted the North Carolina coast with gale force winds for two and a half days. Higher than average spring tides combined with powerful wind brought extreme flooding from Nags Head to Hatteras Island. A new inlet between Buxton and Avon severed Hatteras Island.
When it was over more than 2,000 Outer Banks buildings were either washed into the ocean, otherwise totally destroyed, or severely damaged. Officials estimated the damage to property at more than $234 million dollars.
Old and abandoned automobiles were dumped into the breech on Hatteras. Dredges pumped sand on top of the vehicles to finally fill in the new inlet.
In 1986 Outer Banks historian, David Stick, wrote a book, "The Ash Wednesday Storm," which chronicled the devastation with photographs and interviews with people who lived through the ordeal and with everyday heroes who rescued countless individuals from the rising tide.
The book is a sobering reminder of the power and fury of North Atlantic storms, but I don't believe the book is still in print.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Civil War on the Outer Banks, Josephus Daniels, Jr, Secretary of the Navy during WWI, and his connection to Ocracoke. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022112.htm.