Hurricane Irene Washes Out Road at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Various Damage At Other East Coast National Park Units

Reaching Cape Hatteras National Seashore by vehicle in the near future will be hard, if not impossible, due to breaching of Highway 12 by storm waters from Hurricane Irene.

The road, the main artery that runs the length of Cape Hatteras, was blown out just north of Rodanthe, and damage to the road also was reported near Salvo, according to the National Park Service.

At Cape Lookout National Seashore, where Irene came ashore Saturday morning, officials reported that "docks have sustained varying amounts of damage; sand washes impeding access may also affect ferries. There’s been some shingle and siding damage to structures. Septic systems may have been impacted and back roads damaged at Great Island. No assessments have yet been made of Portsmouth Village or Cape Lookout Village."

Here's a Park Service rundown on how the storm affected other National Park System units along the East Coast:

* Colonial National Historical Park – Colonial Parkway, which runs from Yorktown to Jamestown, is closed due to the many trees that fell across it during the storm. No building damage has been reported.

* Richmond National Battlefield Park – As with many other parks, Richmond reports numerous trees down, but also had one employee who was stuck at home due to fallen trees. The park was in the process of opening an access route yesterday.

* Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area – Route 209 within the park is closed from Bushkill to Milford. The road will remain closed until further notice. The strong winds and heavy rains from Hurricane Irene brought down numerous trees along the road and caused flooding at Bushkill Creek. Additional flooding is expected along Route 209 as the Delaware River rises toward flood stage. Many local roads that connect to Route 209, River Road, and other park roads are also closed.

* Fire Island National Seashore – Communities within the park had up to 4 feet of standing water yesterday. Four breaches occurred along the island. Details on other impacts will not be known until assessments are completed – neither headquarters not the maintenance complex could be reached yesterday because they were within the mandatory evacuation zone. The park is operating under ICS; the incident command post is located in a nearby Hilton Hotel.

* Gateway National Recreation Area – The combination of surge and high tide brought water up into Great Kills, Riis Beach, Jamaica Bay and the east side of Floyd Bennett Field. Assessments of impacts are under way. Many roads were flooded. The Sandy Hook Unit in New Jersey was still inaccessible at the time of the report yesterday.

* Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island National Monument – The islands were inaccessible at the time of the report. The main electrical panel at Ellis Island blew out during the hurricane’s passage due to water intrusion.