Sun, 02/18/2018 - 5:46am

Outer Banks

Why Shelly Island appeared, then disappeared

Shelly Island appeared and then all but disappeared with Hurricane Maria. Could it return? 

Peril and Promise, our ongoing series of reports on the human impact of, and solutions for, climate change. Lead funding is provided by P. Roy Vagelos and Diana T. Vagelos. Major support is provided by Marc Haas Foundation and Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III. 

The Changing Outer Banks

Ask almost anyone in the country to describe North Carolina’s Outer Banks and they could probably name a few images easily — the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the wild horses, wide strips of sandy beach, and the Wright Brothers monument.

The Outer Banks are so ingrained into our collective national consciousness that people can visualize the coastal region without ever visiting it. The irony is that while images of the Outer Banks remain the same, the islands are constantly changing. They are supposed to.

The Virtual Battle of the Atlantic

You can’t find a more picturesque drive than Highway 12, the road that runs the length of the Outer Banks. Crowded during the summer tourist season, occasionally washed out by hurricanes and Nor’easters, the roadway tells the story of the region’s maritime heritage. From historic towns and lighthouses, to shipwrecks and the birthplace of aviation, Highway 12 has a rich history.

You can stop at highway markers along the way, but now technology has a new way to experience the drive.