It was a long night with a Category II hurricane blowing up the coast.
From a tropical depression just a day or so ago, this storm quickly bulked up into a strong hurricane.
It came ashore across some of our favorite areas on the Outer Banks of North Carolina during the dark hours of early morning.
We watched the storm’s progress until nearly midnight, and then gave up and went to bed.
It grazed my beloved Topsail Island, and was headed to our special spots on Ocracoke and Hatteras as we watched the cast of the Weather Channel struggle against the strong wind and rain describing its progress in painful detail.
This “Arthur” was touching friends and family all across the Carolinas. We hoped its touch would be as gentle as possible.
We knew that Route 12, where we’ve spent many happy hours driving through the wildlife refuge and photographing the shore birds, would be wrecked by morning.
We love the coast of North Carolina and Virgina.
A hurricane on this special holiday weekend is the last thing we wanted to watch; and yet we watched the unfolding, hoping it would weaken and turn away from the coast.
I awakened a little before three AM to the sound of wind in the garden and rain on the roof.
I had to know the progress of the storm and the updated forecast. So as quietly as possible, I headed back to the TV, pillow in hand.
Our local meteorologists were broadcasting the story all night long.
Their reporters stood in the weather giving updates, alongside crews from The Weather Channel and other networks.
At three I heard of a possible tornado on the Lynnhaven Inlet at Virginia Beach.
The warnings were extending northwards. I watched and worked my counted cross stitch for the next hour, until it was clear the storm had begun to move out to sea.
Then to the couch for a little sleep.
I checked in again at five, and saw that somehow Jim Cantore was still standing in Buxton.
We had assumed that his producers were planning a Coast Guard rescue by helicopter, once that part of the island completely over-washed in the waves.
That would make really good TV, and could be re-played by the Weather Channel cast for years to come.
But, alas, he had found a steel and concrete structure and was braced against it, barely able to stand, ankle deep in sea water; but still giving live commentary as the storm rolled past.
By a quarter to six, the forecast track clearly showed the storm turning out to sea.
We were getting our much needed rain, and I still could hear the wind blowing through the trees. But the tornado warnings were gone.
I decided to get some more sleep.
By the time I awoke again a little after seven, it was light outside. A gorgeous morning here with light rain and cool, moist breezes greeted us.
We decided to head out to the Parkway to see what the morning held, and what the storm had left behind.
A few branches had blown down, but we were so very fortunate to have no real damage.
Our power was on, there was no flooding near us, and the trees in our community stood through the night.
We saw the outermost curved band of “Arthur” in the sky as we left our driveway.
It was a thin skim of clouds against the clearing morning sky.
The wind is still with us this afternoon.
The storm continues moving north and east, towards another landfall in New England.
I hope all touched by the storm can pick up the pieces, clean up the mess, and move on from this.
It is only the first named storm of the tropical season.
We’ll be watching our coastal waters from now until the end of November, hoping that all of the systems which form stay well out to sea, and far away from our beautiful coasts and our loved ones.
Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014