Pre-Storm and Post-Storm Hurricane Planning in Nags Head, North Carolina

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by Bruce M. Bortz, Town of Nags Head, Nags Head, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '91

Abstract: Located on a barrier island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the Town of Nags Head is vulnerable to the direct effects of hurricanes and extra-tropical storms. The Outer Banks, as well as the Town, has been shaped and re-shaped as a result of countless hurricanes and storms. The Town of Nags Head has developed as a family beach--an area of low density, few large hotels and ample amounts of open space and clean beaches. In the early 1980's the Town officials began to realize that if a hurricane struck Nags Head, our way of living would be changed forever. Past experiences in other communities have indicated that post-disaster recovery can be a time of confusion--chaos and pressured land use decisions which can lead to higher density, large hotels, and permanent changes which would result in the loss of our family beach. For the last ten years, in order to preserve this family beach atmosphere, the Town has been working on numerous mitigation measures to reduce the loss of life and property associated with damaging coastal storms and hurricanes. Nags Head's approach to mitigation measures has been far-ranging: from policy decisions on rebuilding of roads to restrictive oceanfront zoning, along with emergency police powers delegated to the Town Mayor. The Town's program covers three major components of hurricane and storm mitigation which involve actions the Town takes (1) before a storm or hurricane; (2) during the storm event; and (3) post-hurricane or storm mitigation or reconstruction actions.

Subject Headings: Storms | Hurricanes and typhoons | Beaches | Commercial buildings | Ecological restoration | Gates (hydraulic) | Barrier islands | North Carolina

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