RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina officials at the Outer Banks reported some damage and erosion to beaches from Tropical Storm Idalia and distant Hurricane Franklin — with many areas still not safe for swimming.
Cape Lookout National Seashore officials warned Friday that ocean “overwash is likely to continue for several more days” which would impact visitors. The surf was still rough Saturday from Idalia and Franklin, with a high threat of rip current warnings for nearly all of the North Carolina coast.
Beach erosion caused by distant Hurricane Franklin and Tropical Storm Idalia exposed a dangerous beach area along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, officials said. The area is hazardous infrastructure from a former military site at the end of Old Lighthouse Road in Buxton.
National Seashore crews closed the stretch of beach Friday between the Buxton Beach Access and the area of the Buxton jetties.
“Seashore staff implemented the closure after substantial post-storm beach erosion was observed and reports of a strong smell of fuel were received from visitors,” National Park Service officials said. The area was later reopened.
Cape Lookout National Seashore crews had to make some repairs around a dock area before passenger traffic re-started Saturday.
“The storm likely brought debris ashore,” Cape Lookout officials said. “Please continue to exercise caution when visiting the park.”
On Thursday, North Carolina officials told people to avoid swimming in North Carolina coastal waters from Wright Memorial Bridge in Kitty Hawk south to the South Carolina State Line after Tropical Storm Idalia.
The N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program map still shows much of the coast under a “Precautionary Advisory,” which shows a stormwater discharge area, including areas impacted by excessive rain events.
Testing along the North Carolina coast will resume on Sept 5 — then — depending on results the precautionary advisory may be lifted on Sept 6 for ocean-side beaches, officials said.
“Residents and visitors should avoid swimming in these waters until bacteriological testing indicates sample results within the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s standards. Testing will begin as soon as conditions are safe and areas are accessible,” a news release from the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program said.