Friday, July 4, 2014

Hurricane Arthur

We knew when we built this house in the Outer Banks that hurricanes were just a part of the package. In fact the day that we closed on the house Kill Devil Hills was under a Hurricane Warning for Hurricane Dennis.  As we were driving down from Richmond for the closing, we were not sure that the bridge would be open due to the high winds. The builder was very anxious to get the papers signed and toss me the keys. We have been in the sights of many storms since but dodged some bullets and, even when hit, we were not hit too hard.

When SeaClearly came to live with us, we knew we were adding another level of Hurricane Stress. The first year, 2012, we never had a hurricane come near the Outer Banks. In 2013, no hurricanes made landfall in the US. But, 2014 started off with a bang for the Fourth of July and Hurricane Arthur took aim on North Carolina. We prepared SeaClearly and the house as well as we could and then settled in for, what could be, a long night. We had just had Cable TV installed, after a year-long hiatus from TV, primarily to watch the Weather Channel through the June - November hurricane season. We tuned in just in time for the first of many live reports from Kill Devil Hills, NC.

We find it somewhat humorous that our insurance provider for SeaClearly will not allow us to venture south into Florida between June and November (unless we want to pay a ridiculous premium). Much better that we keep her docked here in Kill Devil Hills where there have been a historical parade of hurricanes and the Weather Channel team - Jim Cantore, Stephanie Abrams and Mike Seidl, at least - apparently have permanent condos.

All night long we watched the approach of Arthur and the intensification to a Category 2 hurricane. We watched as Arthur made landfall at Cape Lookout, NC (home to one of our favorite anchorages) with 100 mph winds. We watched the water start flowing out of our canal as the storm got closer. We adjusted lines in 40 -50 mph winds as SeaClearly went lower and lower. Then, in the middle of the night, Arthur arrived.

First light, water is up, wind from the west
 and SeaClearly is rockin'

It is difficult to say how high our winds actually were. Reports vary and most people exaggerate. The house shook. SeaClearly's rigging was making a mournful sound. So, I'll say 60 - 80 mph. The eye passed just about 5 miles south of us. With that passing, the wind switched and all of the water that had been pushed out into the Albemarle Sound came back. We adjusted the lines again - in much gustier wind, blowing rain and white caps rolling up the canal - as SeaClearly rose up again.

Rainy, windy backside of Arthur

We were up all night. The water went over the bulkheads and docks just before sunrise. About 7:00 am, when the water finally crept to a stop a few feet into the backyard, it was obvious we were OK. Our salvation with this storm was the fact that the storm was moving very fast. About 21 mph by the time it got here. As such, it didn't have time to move as much water. Irene, back in 2011, was very slow and took 12 hours to blow all the water out and 12 more hours to blow it back in - and flooded the entire neighborhood. We were very happy not to see that again.

SeaClearly in the backyard.

We adjusted the lines one more time and dove into bed to catch some sleep. We had no significant damage, the neighborhood fared well and SeaClearly rode out the storm just fine. We were glad that we had stripped her down. We never lost electricity or the Weather Channel. Thanks to all the folks that checked on us! It is nice to know that someone is thinking of you and we really appreciate your concern. I sure hope this is not an early indication of the nature of the 2014 hurricane season.

Water stopped! Time for bed.


  1. Very relieved to hear that you were left with no significant damage! Hope this season brings no more named storms to you.

    1. Thanks. I think all of the storms this year should stay offshore. And I will call them names.

  2. Stressful. That's what I remember from Irene in New Bedford. Glad you made it through unharmed. It looks that this time you had enough water to get and out of your slip!

  3. Hi, my name is Ralph and I met you at Joe's Crab shack when you were tied up at Waterside marina in Norfolk. I was sitting at the table next to you, I was telling my niece that we had passed your boat when you motored by the tour boat we were on. I was explaining the difference between your boat and my Catalina 36. Junie told me that the 3rd headsail was a Code 0.
    All of the above to tell you that I have a picture of SeaClearly motoring and if you would like a copy, I'll send it along.

    Fair Winds,

    1. Of course we remember you and the pleasant conversation. Nice to hear from you! Would love to have the picture. Thanks!
      Duane and June