The day before I went to Topsail, an unnamed storm blew through and even though it wasn’t powerful enough to have a name, it did quite a bit of damage. Virtually every ocean-front home had lost its stairs and/or walkways, and there was some debris laying around on the beach. All along the island, there are public access stairways that take you over the sand dunes and many of these stairs were gone, but luckily the ones closest to our house were intact. The ocean was still churned up when we arrived but it got calmer each day, and there were some beautiful bands of stormy clouds moving through. And the storm washed up some great shells!
Knocked down stairs
At the tip of the island, there's a large undeveloped section of beach. It's a great place to look for shells, and I also found this staircase that had washed down from elsewhere on the island.
Some beautiful post-storm clouds
Topsail was hit hard by Hurricane Fran in the 1990's and that wooden structure in the photo below is what's left of a fishing pier that Fran washed away. After Fran, a local news station sent a helicoptor down to fly over the coast and they broadcast it so that people could check on their homes. I remember watching it and being so relieved to see that both of the houses that I've rented were still standing. But it was so strange to see all the empty ocean-front lots. It wasn't like Fran knocked the houses down and you saw a bunch of debris....the houses were just completely gone, washed away. Very eerie.