Photo Gallery: Winter Storm Riley

The much anticipated winter storm Riley started showing it’s ugly head on Thursday March 1st. By Thursday evening, schools were closed the following day due to 50mph+ winds allowing for everyone to prepare for another standard March Nor’Easter. Unlike most Nor’Easters, this one started with a massive onslaught of West wind (and no rain) which quickly battered the Soundside communities along the Outer Banks. Flood levels reached 3-5′ above normal and caused several roads to be closed. To make matters worse, the winds shifted by Saturday out of the North and pushed all the sound water down to the Hatteras Island communities causing higher than usual flooding. And with North winds comes swell. By Sunday, buoy readings were hovering around 15′ with a period of 15 seconds. Waves were breaking 2 to 3 times past the end of piers and the Atlantic Ocean came alive with victory at sea conditions. Surf has been consistently out of control from Saturday through Monday with finally a break from the winds on Tuesday. Due to the shear size of the swell, it took all day Tuesday to help clean up the surface conditions. NC Highway 12 was once again washed out and impassable. NCDOT crews were hard at work trying desperately to open up the lifeline to Hatteras Island. Oceanfront homes South of Oregon Inlet were once again destroyed as swimming pools and vehicles were buried, propane tanks thrown about, etc…

With all the negative impact that a storm of this magnitude can bring, there’s a flip side that only a surfer can comprehend. On March 2nd, Brett Barley tried to make light of the storm by catching a few sets on the Soundside (photography by Daniel Pullen). Surfers Quentin Turko and Christaan Van Vliet couldn’t wait a minute more and paddled out on Tuesday March 6th and finally gave reference on just how big it was breaking on the outer sand bars (photo: Jon Carter).

Below is a snapshot of the OBXsurfinfo Kill Devil Hills forecast on Friday, March 2nd — before the swell arrived. 

Now that the winds have finally shifted offshore, it’s game on for every surfer with a wetsuit within driving distance. The outer banks is about to light up with plenty of ground swell and offshore winds for 3 days.

Below are images showing the damage that was done from this “not so ordinary” Nor’Easter. More photos to come once the ocean cleans up and starts doing it’s thing.

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