In the Outer Banks, hurricane preparations are a ritual, a way of life. The storms bring the threat of destruction and here, especially, of permanent change — of washed-away roads and inlets carved into places that used to be land.
…He directed a staff of workers who’d arrived around 9 a.m. at the Outer Banks Fishing Pier. They’d come to help board up Fish Heads, a popular restaurant and bar built into the beginning of the pier.
…They’ve boarded up Fish Heads so often that for some it’d become routine. The letters spray-painted on the wood offered guidance of where to place them: “E” for on the east side of the restaurant, facing the ocean, and “S” for the south.
If all went well, they’d be back on Saturday to take the boards off and re-open. But that was three days away, and there was no way to know what Dorian might bring.
…In Nags Head, a big Food Lion a few blocks from the beach, was absent the kind of rush that storm preparation might bring elsewhere, farther inland. There were no crowds, but plenty of milk, bread and water. Outside, customers traded jokes about stocking up on beer.
…In 2003, Hurricane Isabel …[destroyed huge parts] two revered fishing piers in Nags Head.
..The pier that Oliver’s father owns lost about 400 feet, Oliver said.
…“They ended up building back Jennette’s as a concrete pier,” Oliver said. …“Since we just got beach nourishment, …and then this last fall, we replaced nine pilings on the pier. So we’re feeling a little bit better …structure-wise.”
…While the workers sawed wood and attached boards to the side of the building, others stood by and watched and cracked open bottles of Corona.
…“We spent a lot of time boarding up. Everybody gets their houses ready, everybody’s prepared, and then at the end if you want to sit down and have a cocktail, it definitely happens for sure.”
…Nags Heard town officials on Wednesday handed out fliers …titled “If You Choose to Stay During Hurricane Dorian.”
…“At the least, we are expecting significant soundside storm surge, rainfall, high surf and the damage associated with these impacts.”
The town wrote that at the height of the storm, public safety personnel “may not be able to respond in the event of an emergency.” It warned people who stayed to be prepared to lose power and water, and advised gathering enough supplies to last for at least three days.