North Carolina

Friday beach-by-beach update: Conditions improving, but it’s tough to get there

Aerial view captures impact of Florence flooding in New Bern

Commanding officers of the U.S. Coast Guard survey the flooding in New Bern, NC Saturday ,Sept. 15, 2018 to assess the impact of Hurricane Florence.
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Commanding officers of the U.S. Coast Guard survey the flooding in New Bern, NC Saturday ,Sept. 15, 2018 to assess the impact of Hurricane Florence.

Updated, 4 p.m. Friday

One week after Hurricane Florence began ripping into the North Carolina coast, the state’s beach areas are making good progress with their cleanup efforts.

The problem is trying to reach the beaches from inland areas of the Carolinas.

River flooding continued to close roads in the Coastal Plains of both Carolinas on Friday, making it difficult to reach the coast.

Here is an update, moving from north to south:

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North Carolina

Hyde County

Ocracoke Island was reopened to the public Friday, including the national park facilities and campground. However, damage on N.C. 12 on the island has prevented the Hatteras-to-Ocracoke ferry from running.

Four ferry runs daily are planned for both the Swan Quarter and Cedar Island ferries, but many of those are fully booked. The N.C. Department of Transportation said it will begin operating a tram service at 1 p.m. Saturday on Ocracoke Island. That is for people who want to reach the island but can’t get a spot on the ferries for their vehicles. They can walk onto the boats and reach Ocracoke that way.

Carteret County

Emerald Isle: The island is open to the public, and the curfew has been lifted. Pumping efforts continue in flooded areas of the island, but officials say Coast Guard Road is now open. The Lands End community was still flooded as of Friday morning, however.

Debris pickup began Friday on the eastern end of the island. The town administration building is open. Officials said they will decide by Monday on whether the Emerald Isle Beach Music Festival set for Sept. 29 will take place as scheduled.

The Food Lion and Publix stores are open, as are most restaurants.

Authorities said U.S. 70 is closed near Kinston, due to flooding on the Neuse River. People trying to reach Emerald Isle from the Raleigh area should take Interstate 40 and then get on N.C. 24 eastbound.

Power has been restored to more than 90 percent of the 7,000 electricity customers.

Pine Knoll Shores: Electricity has been restored to most of the town, and the curfew is lifted. The American Music Festival scheduled for Saturday has been postponed. A date has not been set.

Atlantic Beach: Electricity is back on, the Food Lion store is operating, and restaurants have reopened. The curfew has been lifted. People trying to reach Atlantic Beach are reminded that U.S. 70 in Kinston is closed due to flooding.

Onslow County

North Topsail Beach: County officials delivered a number of tarpaulins Friday for home owners. The island remains open only to residents and property owners with passes or proof of residency.

Officials used the town’s Facebook page to warn beachgoers to be careful of debris. Authorities posted a photo of what appeared to be an old military shell, saying live ordnance might have been washed up onshore by the hurricane.

Town officials have conducted an aerial survey of property, and it can be seen on YouTube by entering the key words “Topsail Island Post Hurricane Florence.”

Incredible before and after imagery showing the impact of Hurricane Florence on North Topsail Beach. (This video has no audio.)

Pender County

Surf City: The island is open to residents and property owners, who must use the Surf City Swinging Bridge for access. Cleanup and damage assessment efforts will continue this weekend.

Topsail Beach: Restoration of electricity and other utilities continued Friday, and more businesses were able to open. Pickup of vegetative debris will begin Monday. The island is open to residents and property owners, through the Surf City Swinging Bridge.

New Hanover County

Wrightsville Beach: The beach is open to the public, and most businesses have reopened. Town officials say the big problem is access to Wrightsville Beach, due to flooding of roads in the Wilmington area.

Carolina Beach: Debris removal of vegetation, construction materials and appliances will begin Monday along Carolina Beach’s streets. The island is open to the public.

Kure Beach: Kure Beach is open to the public, with most businesses operating again. Vegetative and construction debris pickup will begin Monday.

Brunswick County

Brunswick County’s southernmost islands are recovering nicely, but reaching them is a problem. Dozens of roads in the county remain closed by flooding, and others were severely damaged by water.

It’s a different story along the Cape Fear River, where flooding has caused a state of emergency in Southport and on Bald Head Island.

Bald Head Island: High water on the Cape Fear River continues to prevent the two marinas from opening, and that means there is no access to the island. Food and water are being taken to the island by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Officials say they expect the river to crest this weekend.

Caswell Beach: Residents and property owners have access to Caswell Beach, but it will be 9 a.m. Monday before the public is permitted entry. Electricity restoration continued Friday, and officials said a majority of customers have power again. Water and sewer service is on.

Oak Island, Holden Beach, Ocean Isle Beach, Sunset Beach: Cleanup is continuing, but all utilities are operating. Officials in the towns say the major issue is reaching the coast, due to river flooding inland.

Calabash: Most businesses were reported to be open Friday, with power restored to a majority of the town.

South Carolina

Horry County

The S.C. Department of Transportation said Friday that the main route to the beach – U.S. 501 through Conway – is down to two lanes in Conway because of flooding. Travelers can expect lengthy delays this weekend.

Also open – S.C. 90 and most of U.S. 17. However, feeder roads into S.C. 90, such as S.C. 22 and S.C. 31 – are closed in spots by flooding. S.C. 905 was closed in several spots Friday.

And if you’re headed to the northern part of the county from inland areas, there’s more trouble. S.C. 9 is closed near Marion and also in the Longs community, due to flooding.

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