An intimidating reminder of 2018’s Hurricane Florence has finally been removed from Cape Lookout National Seashore, and it wasn’t easy to get rid of, according to the National Park Service.
The storm’s 100-mph gusts shoved a 1,300-pound buoy up on one of the park’s beaches, and experts have spent 5 years pondering ways to get the monstrosity back in the ocean.
It took help from the U.S. Coast Guard to get it done, and they did the job March 21 in grand style.
Photos shared on Facebook the 9-foot-tall navigational marker was attached to a long cable and flown out by helicopter, not unlike a giant, extremely gaudy Christmas ornament.
The unusual flight came as part of a larger project to remove five buoys from Cape Lookout’s beaches, all of them blown ashore by storms, park officials said. Among them was one that came ashore during 2019’s Hurricane Dorian, the park says.
Such buoys, known as 5X9s, are placed in coastal waters to mark the entrances to inlets between the state’s barrier islands, officials said.
Some have been ashore so long that anglers and campers have been using them as directional markers, the park admitted.
“If you’ve been using the buoys as landmarks on the beach, you’ll need to find something else to mark your favorite camping or fishing hole locations,” the park wrote on Facebook.
“The NPS mile markers are much smaller but they do indicate your location on the island and occur every mile along the island.”
Hurricane Florence is among the more notorious of East Coast cyclones in the past 10 years, having caused 42 deaths and $16.7 billion in damage in North Carolina, the National Weather Service reports.