Outer Banks Safety
Important Phone Numbers:
Outer Beaches: 1-800-627-3150
Dare County: 1-800-446-6262
Emergency Mgmt.: 252-473-3355
Non emergency Dare County: 252-473-3444
Local Radio Stations:
NOAA Weather Radio: 162.550
AM WOBR: 1530
FM WOBR: 95.3
FM WCXL: 104.1
FM WERX: 102.5
FM WKJX: 96.7
FM WNHW: 92.5
FM WRSR: 105.7
If A Hurricane Strikes
When hurricanes threaten the Outer Banks, it is imperative that you adhere to the instructions of Outer Beaches Realty and local authorities. When time permits, each cottage will be notified of what to do. Outer Beaches Realty’s policies are as follows:
When a hurricane WATCH is issued, you should begin preparations for possible evacuation. Outer Beaches Realty will monitor the storm along with local authorities and the National Hurricane Center. When the probability of a hit to Hatteras Island becomes likely, Dare County will issue a MANDATORY EVACUATION. Evacuation is required whenever a mandatory evacuation is issued by Dare County officials. You should pack all belongings, including food, and evacuate immediately. Neither Outer Beaches nor the cottage Owner will be responsible for any items you may leave behind.
Exit the Island to the north only! Police will direct you to the quickest safe route when you reach the traffic light at Whalebone Junction (first traffic light north of the Island). Prior to leaving the cottage, complete the Hurricane Preparation Checklist.
Hurricane Preparation Checklist
- Tightly lock and secure ALL doors and windows
- Turn picnic tables upside down
- Bring all deck furniture and anything that may be blown away inside
- Unplug all appliances, TVs, VCRs, DVDs and stereos
- Bring trash cans in from the road and store in outside shower/storage area
- Secure all hot tub covers with the provided straps
- Set thermostats to OFF position
- Turn off refrigerator and prop refrigerator and freezer doors open with chair
- Turn main power off at breaker panel
- Close all blinds, make sure door is locked behind you and screen door is tightly latched
These steps shouldn’t take more than 10-15 minutes and could make the difference in damage caused by hurricanes. Think of you how thankful you would be if someone staying in your house did this for you! Your help in completing these items is needed and greatly appreciated by the cottage Owner and Outer Beaches Realty.
Upon leaving the Island, you may either stay at a motel inland or return home. Keep in mind that the first people to evacuate will get the closest motel rooms and avoid traffic tie-ups. The longer you wait, the farther you’ll have to travel to find accommodations. After the storm passes, you may call our office or local authorities to see if you can return. If so, we are glad to have you come back and enjoy the rest of your vacation.
There will be NO REFUNDS OR CREDITS FOR HURRICANE EVACUATIONS. Whether you own property, run a business, or rent a cottage on Hatteras Island, the threat of a hurricane is always present during certain months of the year, and we all assume this risk. Therefore, we suggest you consider Travel Protection Insurance to secure your vacation investment and eliminate your financial risk. There will be no refunds of any kind for hurricane evacuations. According to the North Carolina Vacation Rental Act, in the event of a mandatory evacuation, “The tenant shall not be entitled to a refund if: i.e. prior to the Tenant taking possession of the property, the Tenant refused insurance offered by the landlord or real estate broker that would have compensated him or her for losses or damages resulting in loss of use of the property due to a mandatory evacuation order; or i.e. the Tenant purchased insurance offered by the landlord or real estate broker.” This means that no refunds will be given either by Outer Beaches Realty or the landlord if you either buy or refuse to buy insurance. Please consider Travel Protection Insurance, which will reimburse you for lost vacation time, to avoid this risk.
During periods of evacuation you may visit our homepage for twice daily alerts or call the Outer Beaches Realty main office at 800-627-3150 for frequent updates of the storm and important information via our automated voice mail system.
Names for 2017 Atlantic Storms: Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rina, Sean, Tammy, Vince, and Whitney.
*Please note: If severe weather threatens our Island and circumstances beyond our control cause you to remain at a cottage, please follow the above steps. Seek high ground to park your vehicle (or vehicles) on so they aren’t damaged by floodwaters.
Outer Beaches facilitates the purchase of Travel Insurance through third party providers specializing in vacation coverage. Your vacation rental agreement will include this optional plan. We highly recommend that you consider this option to protect your vacation from unforeseen occurrences. For more information, click here.
Prepare a Personal Evacuation Plan
Identify ahead of time where you could go if you are told to evacuate. Choose several places — a friend’s home in another town, a hotel or a shelter. If you are coming to the Outer Banks and need to evacuate, remember there will be many other people evacuating as well. Early planning could make a big difference!
Keep handy the telephone numbers of those places as well as a road map — you may need to take alternative or unfamiliar routes if major roads are closed or clogged. Above is a listing of emergency and non-emergency numbers you should have on hand.
When evacuating, do not forget these items:
- Prescription medications and medical supplies
- Bedding and clothing, including sleeping bags and pillows if available
- Bottled water, battery-operated radio & extra batteries, first aid kit, flashlight
- Car keys and maps
- Any documents you may need, such as your driver’s license, credit cards, etc.
Listen to NOAA weather radio, local radio, the Weather Channel or national news if available. Pay attention to local officials and if advised to evacuate, do so immediately. The roads will be getting busy, and the earlier you leave, the less congestion you will deal with. If you are staying in a vacation rental, please complete the above Hurricane Preparation Checklist before leaving.
Evacuation Route off of the Outer Banks
Head NORTH on NC Highway 12 and then WEST at US Highway 64 or NORTH at US Highway 158 (both in Nags Head).
Expect to encounter traffic congestion and several hours of waiting before exiting the area. The sooner you leave, the less congestion you will cause and encounter!
Returning to the Outer Banks after a Hurricane has passed
After the storm has passed, do not return to the area until reentry has been advised by local officials and Outer Beaches. Time is needed to assess storm damage and act on rescue efforts. There may be primitive conditions in the area, such as no electricity, inadequate gasoline and food supplies, contaminated water, impassable roadways and undermined houses.
Remember to call our toll-free number at 1-800-627-3150; we will update the message at least once a day! If you have internet access, OuterBeaches.com will have the most complete, most up to date information from Dare County, the National Weather Center and NOAA before, during and after a hurricane.
Re-Entry stages for getting back onto the Outer Banks
Stage 1: Critical need personnel identified by special permit issued by the Municipal Mayors and the Chairman of the Dare County Control Group.
Stage 2: Permanent residents and resident property owners that have a re-entry permit identified with an “R”, a Dare County driver’s license or a current Dare County tax receipt.
Stage 3: A non-resident improved property owner — identified by a solid color permit or a current Dare County tax receipt.
Stage 4: General public.
Hurricane Frequently Asked Questions
When do hurricanes occur?
Hurricane season lasts from June 1st until November 30th each year. There have been instances where storms formed in May and December, however this is rare.
Where do hurricanes occur?
Hurricanes can form almost anywhere in the Tropical Atlantic Basin from the West Coast of Africa near the Cape Verde Islands, to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. There are several prime areas where development can occur depending on the time of year and necessary environment conditions. The most common places for hurricanes to develop in the Atlantic Basin include:
The Gulf of Mexico: With water temperatures ranging from 85-90° during hurricane season, this is a very favorable region for hurricane development. Hurricanes from this region generally move into the Gulf Coast states from Texas to Florida.
The Western Caribbean: Favorable upper winds make this area a hot-spot for hurricane development during the season. Its cousins, the Eastern and Central Caribbean, are usually not favorable areas due to hostile upper level winds. Hurricanes from this region generally move into the Gulf Coast area, or along the East Coast.
Cape Verde Islands: The granddaddy of hurricane hot-spots, this is the most common area for hurricane development starting in August, when water temperatures become warm enough to support tropical formation. Hurricanes from this region generally travel west towards the Caribbean and East Coast of the United States.
What is the difference between a Hurricane WATCH and a Hurricane WARNING?
A hurricane WATCH means hurricane conditions are possible in the specified area of the WATCH, usually within 36 hours.
A hurricane WARNING means hurricane conditions are expected in the specified area of the WARNING, usually within 24 hours.
What is the difference between a Tropical Depression, Tropical Storm and a Hurricane?
Tropical Depression (Winds up to 39 mph): Rough seas, small craft warnings. Barometric pressure is estimated at 29.73″.
Tropical Storm (Winds 39 – 73 mph): Heavy seas, capsizing of smaller vessels, flooding of low areas, heavy rain. Storm surge is less than 4′ above normal. Barometric pressure is less than 29.53″.
Hurricane Category 1 (Winds 74 – 95 mph): Light damage to buildings. Damage to un-anchored mobile homes, poorly constructed signs. Some coastal flooding with minor pier damage. Storm surge is generally 4-5′ above normal. Barometric pressure is between 28.94″ and 29.53″.
Hurricane Category 2 (Winds 96 – 110 mph): Some damage to building roofs, doors and windows. Considerable damage to mobile homes. Flooding damages piers and small craft in unprotected moorings may break their moorings. Some trees blown down. Storm surge is generally 6-8′ above normal. Barometric pressure is between 28.50″ and 28.91″.
Hurricane Category 3 (Winds 111 – 130 mph): Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings. Large trees blown down. Mobile homes and poorly built signs destroyed. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by floating debris. Terrain may be flooded well inland. Storm surge is generally 9-12′ above normal. Barometric pressure is between 27.91″ and 28.47″.
Hurricane Category 4 (Winds 131 – 155 mph): More extensive curtain wall failures with some complete roof structure failure on small residences. Major erosion of beach areas. Terrain may be flooded well inland. Tornado threat inland. Storm surge is generally 13-18′ above normal. Barometric pressure is between 27.17″ and 27.88″.
Hurricane Category 5 (Winds 155 mph and greater): Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures. Severe Flooding with major damage to lower floors of all structures near the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas may be required. Storm surge is generally greater than 18′ above normal. Barometric pressure is below 27.17″.
What is the “eye” of a hurricane?
This is the small area of clear weather that is denoted by calm winds and even sunny skies. It is the center of the lowest pressure within the hurricane.
What is the “eyewall” then?
This is the “wall” of the “eye” of the storm and is where the most severe weather and highest sustained winds are generally reported. It is the absolute last place you want to be in a hurricane.
What is storm surge?
This is the term for the large dome of water that accompanies the landfall of a hurricane. It is responsible for 90% of all deaths that occur.
Why do we name tropical storms and hurricanes?
Quite simply, because it is easily for residents in the affected area to recognize, remember and understand.
How are tropical storms and hurricanes named?
The National Hurricane Center created the list of names we use to name hurricanes. Names are rotated on a six year basis, with a rotating list of male and female names. Whenever a particularly powerful storm hits land, (such as Hurricane Andrew in 1992), the name is then retired from the list to avoid confusion in the future.
How many storms generally occur in a given season?
The average number of named storms (depressions or tropical storms) each season is between 9-10. The average number of hurricanes that form each season is between 5-6, of which 2-3 of these will generally become major hurricanes.