As the local owner of Kitty Hawk Watersports, I have weathered my fair share of hurricanes. In my previous post, I shared four of the most important things I’ve learned about hurricanes while living on the Outer Banks. Today, I want to share three more tips for dealing with hurricanes.
1. Understand the Flooding Risks
Common thinking was there were two types of hurricane events: ocean-side flooding and sound-side flooding. Hurricane Matthew introduced a third type of event: flooding from a deluge of rain. This was a bit of a shocker for Outer Bankers. Matthew filled every low spot on the beach, as over ten inches of rain fell overnight. Usually, the sandy terrain drains extremely fast but ten inches was too much to absorb. Places that normally don’t flood had sitting water for over a week. In addition, I know of one commercial shopping strip built on the side of a hill that was flooded from water running down the side of the hill and breaching the rear of the building. What type of event dictates how we prepare? As storms get closer, I’m constantly looking at wind direction and wind speed. Wind direction is critically important in determining whether the upcoming storm will be a sound-side event or an ocean-side event. This, in turn, may determine how we prepare. An ocean event typically doesn’t affect my home because we are not in a flood zone. That being said, if the onshore winds are strong enough, I do need to concern myself with the wind speed since our home is a little vulnerable to east winds. A sound-side event tremendously affects Kitty Hawk Watersports. Being right on the sound with nothing to stop a strong surge of water, we need to get all the boats to higher ground, and everything at the site needs to be at least four feet off the ground. It makes for exhausting days of storm prep.
2. Experience Is the Best Teacher
Those of us who live here learn to deal with the hurricanes. It’s part of the price we pay for living in such a great place. If you’ve never been through one, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype. What I learned early on was to talk to the locals. They have a wealth of information and they are happy to give you the real intel.
3. Stock Up on Alcohol
The final thing I’ve learned about hurricanes is to stock up on alcoholic beverages. You don’t want to be caught short-handed if the grocery stores and ABC stores close down. This one basic commodity can help you unwind after battening the hatches, it can help you kill time, and in cases of extreme necessity, can be used to barter for other material items.
Support and Patience for Local Businesses
At Kitty Hawk Watersports, we greatly appreciate your support and we couldn’t be here without our guests and visitors. When you come back after a storm, please be patient with us. We probably are still unpacking and cleaning up. We hope that you will be extra generous because we probably haven’t made any money for about a week and, as stated before, we rarely bounce back to pre-storm sales totals. Even without a mandatory evacuation, we can lose a huge portion of our income due to tourists being scared away. In light of this, contact us at (252) 441-2756 to learn more about rental opportunities, tours and rides, and lessons provided by our company. Gift certificates are also available any time of the year.
We hope to see you in the future when the weather is nice.
John Van Lunen, Owner