Hurricane Earl is forecast to brush the Outer Banks of North Carolina late tonight. And that has me praying.
The Outer Banks have a special place in my heart and life. I’ve long been drawn by their remote nature. Even a cursory look at a map reveals how far they are from the mainland. The most outer of the Outer Banks are long narrow strips with Pamlico Sound on one side and the Atlantic on the other. You cannot even see the mainland. And long stretches of Hatteras Island especially are protected for the abundance of wild beach and birds.
I still remember my first visit there in my twenties. In part to save money and add adventure, I slept in my sleeping bag in the dunes. Little did I know in those pre-internet days that a tropical depression was to pass through that night. Once I got settled into my bag, it began raining and did not stop until near dawn. I did not sleep well. Thankfully, the day was sunny.
Another visit, the surf was so good and fun to ride with a nice swell coming in that for two days I caught waves until I literally was sick. I wore myself out that much bodyboarding (boogieboarding). Again, the timing of rain was merciful as I recovered while a hard rain gave me a good excuse to rest for most of a day afterwards.
I could go on, but you get the picture. I love the Outer Banks. But part of what I love about them makes them vulnerable to hurricanes. The OB juts out into the Atlantic and is very narrow and low. Really, all you have to do and stand on a dune and see the ocean on one side and the sound on the other. So it doesn’t take much of a tidal surge to overrun the islands, particularly Hatteras Island.
Now it appears unlikely (though still possible) that Earl will make a direct hit on Cape Hatteras. But a large Category 4 hurricane just offshore could inflict serious damage. Needless to say, a more direct hit would be devastating.
So please join me in praying for the Outer Banks.
For more info, here is my favorite weather blog.