ECU, UNCW researchers seek input on Hurricane Dorian experience

This postcard contains information for taking part in a survey from East Carolina University and University of North Carolina at Wilmington researchers of coastal residents’ experiences during Hurricane Dorian. (Contributed graphic)

WILMINGTON/GREENVILLE — There’s still time for coastal residents in Carteret County and beyond to take part in a survey on their experiences with Hurricane Dorian in 2019.

Researchers at East Carolina University and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington are conducting a survey of such experiences.

UNCW Ph.D. student Mariko Polk said in an email Tuesday she’s working with ECU graduate student Anna Albright, with ECU Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Rachel Gittman leading the survey project, which began the summer and is scheduled to end by Thursday, April 1.

Ms. Polk said as of Tuesday, they’ve received about 50 responses from county residents. She and her colleagues have sent postcards to coastal residents with information on how to take part in the survey. Interested participants may also visit

“We’re hoping to understand people’s experiences during Hurricane Dorian while living in Wrightsville Beach, Bogue Sound (mainland and island), Ocracoke or Hatteras,” Ms. Polk said. “We’re interested in how the storm and its aftermath affected residents and how the impacts varied based on coastal management techniques.”

Ms. Polk said one thing they’re looking at is how various shoreline management techniques, such as bulkheads and living shorelines, fared during the storm.

“We hope that the result of the survey will give us insight into the effectiveness of various forms of coastal management strategies so that coastal communities can become more resilient to major events, like hurricanes,” Ms. Polk said.

This isn’t the first such survey Ms. Polk and her colleagues have conducted. She said they completed a survey on Hurricane Florence in 2018, which included responses from Wrightsville Beach, Bogue Sound communities, Ocracoke and Hatteras, where Florence had “caused substantial damage and flooding.”

“In contrast, during Dorian, must of the impacts from landfall were felt in the southern Outer Banks (Ocracoke, Hatteras), while damages and flooding were experienced in the central and southern regions of North Carolina.

“Survey data and field data we’ve collected during the aftermath and recovery from these storms can provide us with a means of comparing the impacts of each storm and, in turn, where strengths in management techniques exist.”


Contact Mike Shutak at 252-723-7353, email; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.

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