The hurricane of September 7, 1846, struck the Outer Banks most powerfully twenty to fifty miles north of Portsmouth island, but it led to the demise of the village of Portsmouth. Why was that?
The hurricane was a powerful, slow-moving tropical system that brought gale force winds, sudden squalls, and a rushing surf that destroyed almost everything in its path. But Portsmouth village was spared the brunt of the storm. Nevertheless, the results of the hurricane precipitated the slow abandonment of Portsmouth village. By 1971 the last of the residents left the island, leaving behind their church, the post office, the Coast Guard station, and a dozen or more houses. Today, Portsmouth is a ghost town.
I am wondering if any of our readers can explain why this storm led to the death of Portsmouth. If you know, please leave a comment.
This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is an essay by Philip Howard explaining why he decided to stay on the island as Hurricane Florence approached. You can read it here: