Core Banks, North Carolina

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Core Banks
Cape Lookout Lighthouse - 2013-06 - 10.JPG
Core Banks is located in North Carolina
Core Banks
Core Banks
Geography
LocationSouthern Outer Banks, Carteret County, North Carolina, United States
Coordinates34°42′23″N 76°27′32″W / 34.70639°N 76.45889°W / 34.70639; -76.45889
Administration
United States
Nearest cityHarkers Island, NC
Governing bodyNational Park Service
Demographics
Populationno permanent population
Pop. density0 /km2 (0 /sq mi)

The Core Banks are barrier islands in North Carolina, part of the Outer Banks and Cape Lookout National Seashore. Named after the Coree tribe, they extend from Ocracoke Inlet to Cape Lookout, and consist of two low-relief narrow islands, North Core Banks and South Core Banks, and, since September 2011, two smaller islands. New Drum Inlet, Old Drum Inlet and Ophelia Inlet now separate the islands. The Core Banks are now uninhabited. However, Portsmouth, at the north end of the North Core Banks, was once a substantial port, and Cape Lookout Village, about one and half miles south of the Cape Lookout Lighthouse, contains the historic Lookout Life-Saving Station, a U.S. Coast Guard Station, and several island homes.

Access[edit]

Islands can be reached by two vehicle ferries. One ferry crosses Core Sound from Atlantic to North Core Banks, and another crosses the sound from Davis to South Core Banks. There are no roads on the islands: vehicles use the beach and four wheel drive tracks. Passenger ferries also take tourists from Harkers Island to the Cape Lookout area at the south end of South Core Banks.[1]

Portsmouth Island, on which Portsmouth Village stands, is a tidal island accessible from North Core Banks at most states of the tide.

History[edit]

The Cape Lookout Coast Guard Station, Cape Lookout Light Station, and Cape Lookout Village Historic District are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[2]

Geography[edit]

1584 map by John White showing Core Banks.

The geography of the Core Banks has changed since the mid 19th century. At that time South Core Banks was connected to the Shackleford Banks. Over the years inlets have closed and opened in the barrier islands. From north to south these inlets have been Whalebone Inlet, now closed, which separated Portsmouth Island from the Core Banks, Swash Inlet (closed), Old Drum Inlet (closed in 1971 and reopened by Hurricane Irene in 2011), New Drum Inlet (opened by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1971), Ophelia Inlet (opened by Hurricane Ophelia in 2005[3]), Cedar Inlet (closed) and Barden Inlet (opened by a hurricane in 1933, separating Shackleford Banks from South Core Banks).[4]

From northeast to southwest, the islands are located in the Townships of Portsmouth, Atlantic, Sea Level, Stacy, Davis, Smyrna, and Harkers Island, all in Carteret County.

Climate[edit]

According to the Trewartha climate classification system, Core Banks, North Carolina has a humid subtropical climate with hot and humid summers, cool winters and year-around precipitation (Cfak). Cfak climates are characterized by all months having an average mean temperature > 32.0 °F (> 0.0 °C), at least eight months with an average mean temperature ≥ 50.0 °F (≥ 10.0 °C), at least one month with an average mean temperature ≥ 71.6 °F (≥ 22.0 °C) and no significant precipitation difference between seasons. During the summer months in Core Banks, a cooling afternoon sea breeze is present on most days, but episodes of extreme heat and humidity can occur with heat index values ≥ 100 °F (≥ 38 °C). Core Banks is prone to hurricane strikes, particularly during the Atlantic hurricane season which extends from June 1 through November 30, sharply peaking from late August through September. During the winter months, episodes of cold and wind can occur with wind chill values < 10 °F (< -12 °C). The plant hardiness zone in Core Banks is 8b with an average annual extreme minimum air temperature of 15.3 °F (-9.3 °C).[5] The average seasonal (Dec-Mar) snowfall total is < 2 inches (< 5 cm), and the average annual peak in nor'easter activity is in February.

Climate data for Core Banks, NC (1981-2010 Averages)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 52.8
(11.6)
54.4
(12.4)
60.0
(15.6)
67.1
(19.5)
74.1
(23.4)
80.9
(27.2)
83.9
(28.8)
83.2
(28.4)
79.7
(26.5)
71.9
(22.2)
64.5
(18.1)
56.2
(13.4)
69.1
(20.6)
Daily mean °F (°C) 45.6
(7.6)
47.4
(8.6)
53.1
(11.7)
60.7
(15.9)
68.4
(20.2)
76.1
(24.5)
79.4
(26.3)
78.5
(25.8)
74.5
(23.6)
65.4
(18.6)
57.4
(14.1)
49.1
(9.5)
63.0
(17.2)
Average low °F (°C) 38.5
(3.6)
40.5
(4.7)
46.2
(7.9)
54.4
(12.4)
62.6
(17.0)
71.2
(21.8)
74.9
(23.8)
73.8
(23.2)
69.4
(20.8)
59.0
(15.0)
50.3
(10.2)
41.9
(5.5)
57.0
(13.9)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.54
(115)
3.68
(93)
4.44
(113)
3.34
(85)
4.20
(107)
4.45
(113)
5.98
(152)
7.25
(184)
6.59
(167)
4.51
(115)
4.05
(103)
4.01
(102)
57.04
(1,449)
Average relative humidity (%) 72.9 73.6 72.0 72.7 74.8 77.9 80.8 79.2 78.3 75.4 76.0 74.4 75.7
Average dew point °F (°C) 37.4
(3.0)
39.4
(4.1)
44.3
(6.8)
51.9
(11.1)
60.1
(15.6)
68.7
(20.4)
73.0
(22.8)
71.5
(21.9)
67.3
(19.6)
57.4
(14.1)
49.9
(9.9)
41.3
(5.2)
55.3
(12.9)
Source: PRISM[6]


Climate data for Cape Hatteras, NC Ocean Water Temperature (64 NE Core Banks)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Daily mean °F (°C) 49
(9)
46
(8)
52
(11)
59
(15)
68
(20)
74
(23)
78
(26)
80
(27)
77
(25)
70
(21)
58
(14)
55
(13)
64
(18)
Source: NOAA[7]

Ecology[edit]

According to the A. W. Kuchler U.S. potential natural vegetation types, Core Banks, North Carolina would have a dominant vegetation type of Live oak/Sea Oats Uniola paniculata (90) with a dominant vegetation form of Coastal Prairie (20).[8]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cape Lookout National Seashore: Ferry Services
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
  3. ^ David J. Mallinson; et al. (2008). "Past,Present and Future Inlets of the Outer Banks Barrier Islands, North Carolina" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-10-16. Retrieved 2011-06-13. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help) page 12
  4. ^ Barrier Island Ecology of Cape Lookout National Seashore, NPS Scientific Monograph No.9, Chapter 3
  5. ^ "USDA Interactive Plant Hardiness Map". United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  6. ^ "PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University". Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  7. ^ "Water Temperature Table of All Coastal Regions". Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  8. ^ "U.S. Potential Natural Vegetation, Original Kuchler Types, v2.0 (Spatially Adjusted to Correct Geometric Distortions)". Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  9. ^ The Dispatch; Jun 25, 1976
  10. ^ Surface Interval Diving Company (SIDCO). "The 2002 and 2005 Core Banks Beach Wreck Survey(s)". Retrieved 2 August 2013.
Preceded by
Portsmouth Island
Beaches of The Outer Banks Succeeded by
Cape Lookout

Coordinates: 34°42′23″N 76°27′32″W / 34.70639°N 76.45889°W / 34.70639; -76.45889