Hurricane Irene’s Aftermath


After an intense evening of powerful gusts and pummeling rain, most islanders could breathe a sigh of relief once daylight broke through the clouds Saturday. According to the closest part of the storm passed offshore of Pleasure Island, between 1am and 5 am Saturday, as it transitioned from a fierce category 2 storm down to a less powerful category 1.

Reports of power outages on Pleasure Island were sporadic and nowhere near the impact felt in the City of Wilmington. Much of which is being attributed to downed limbs. In New Hanover County there were allegedly upwards of 60,000 people without power at one point this weekend. As of 8pm Progress Energy released information acknowledging that there were still 23,000 people in NHC and 206,000 statewide without service. Progress Energy anticipated it could take several days for the hardest hit areas to receive power once again.

Unsurprisingly, flooding was an issue in Carolina Beach. Much of Canal Drive and Carolina Beach Avenue North was flooded over with up to a foot of water in some regions. Several areas along the beach crested over the dunes and filled the streets with sand. A few low lying homes’ first floors were inundated with storm surge, sand, and rain from Irene. Some beach access points were destroyed or partially washed away as a result of the rushing waters. Part of the North End Fishing Pier splintered and snapped from the immense force and pressure generated by ocean currents and crushing winds. Efforts were already underway Saturday to clean debris from the pier. When and if the pier will reopen has yet to be determined.

Irene’s soaking rains are also being blamed by town management as the cause of a second wastewater spill into Carolina Beach Lake, which in turn empties into the boat basin in the center of town. The lake was also witnessed to have overflown during and after the storm. Water rushed across Lake Park Boulevard filling the streets. The amount of wastewater that was released was not determined at the time of the notification, although it was noted to be over 1,000 gallons. The last wastewater spill that occurred only a few weeks ago on August 12, was determined to have been approximately 72,00 gallons.

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