Updated September 22, 2010.

The Virginian-Pilot. May 21, 1997.


CURRITUCK -- When Hurricane Bertha blew through last summer, Gary Montalbine of Knotts Island went looking for local information. ``There virtually was none,'' he told the Currituck County Board of Commissioners on Monday night. Montalbine said the Knotts Island Volunteer Fire Station, which traditionally has been Communications Central, was closed. The Knotts Island school was open, but there didn't appear to be much organization or provisions. And the school had no backup generator in case of a power outage. Hurricane updates on a cable access station's message board were not changed frequently enough to be useful, Montalbine added. With the hurricane season officially starting June 1, Currituck County officials are updating emergency management plans for natural disasters. Montalbine, a retiree who operates the cable access station KITV, wants to be sure Knotts Island is included. ``We need to know ahead of time what's going on, so we can react,'' Montalbine said. The commissioners emphasized that Knotts Island is not alone. ``You sort of depicted Knotts Island as being in a void, but they're not in a void any more than a lot of people'' in isolated sections of Currituck County, said Eldon Miller Jr. of Moyock. Currently, when the county is evacuated, Knotts Island residents head to a shelter in Virginia Beach. All other Currituck County mainland and Outer Banks residents are directed toward Rocky Mount. Normally, Rocky Mount is a two-hour drive. But during hurricane evacuations, the trip can last six to eight hours. Public schools in the county are not approved as American Red Cross shelters because of the potential for flooding, said Donnie Beacham, the Currituck County director of emergency management services. But Knotts Island Elementary School has been opened for the past five years at the request of Commissioner Ernie Bowden, who represents the area. While Knotts Island and the rest of Currituck has been spared of severe damage by hurricanes this century, Bowden said he always is reminded of an 1846 hurricane where ocean waves normally a few miles away broke off the eastern shore of the island. Montalbine said plans are under way to staff the fire station during disasters and to install four separate phone lines for emergency calls. Residents hope to persuade Cox Cable Communications to upgrade its message board so that new notices can be placed almost instantly, as it is with Cablevision customers on the mainland. Montalbine said 82 percent of Knotts Island households are hooked up to cable. ``That is probably one of the most critical pieces to get information to the people,'' he said. A comprehensive county natural disaster plan is expected to be unveiled within weeks, Beacham said.

The Virginian-Pilot. September 2, 1998.


Knotts Island, finally with power, tallies fruit losses.

The power finally returned to most of Knotts Island on Tuesday after much of the remote community straddling the Virginia-Carolina border had been laid low by Hurricane Bonnie. An emergency shelter, set up at Knotts Island Elementary School, was empty for the first time Monday night after seeing up to 100 people gather there on some nights after the storm. The shelter was scheduled to be shut down Tuesday evening. A crew from the Salvation Army's Elizabeth City office had been offering three meals a day to people unable to cook in homes that lacked electricity. More than 500 meals have been served through its mobile kitchen. The last free meal will be offered at noon today. Ronnie Patton, a public health nurse from the Charlotte, N.C., chapter of the American Red Cross, said disaster relief trucks have been criss-crossing the island community offering cold drinks to people sweating out their days clearing tree limbs and other debris from their yards. ``Everything has gone well,'' Patton said. ``These people take care of themselves. They're very self-sufficient.'' Overall, damage to homes was reported to be slight, although a final assessment has not been made. Some farmers, however, reported crop losses caused by high winds. David Martin, whose family owns the 88-acre Martin Farm, said 50 percent of his apple harvest was lost to winds. The family is now holding a half-price sale for people willing to scavenge apples off the ground. He said the family was able to salvage most of the peach crop and a couple varieties of grapes that would have suffered had they been drenched with water. The farm recorded about 5 inches of rain during the storm. The Martin family has a long love affair with wrestling, and Steve Martin, David's brother, is a wrestling coach at Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake. On Monday, some school wrestlers agreed to come out and help stake up fruit tress blown down by the winds. ``We have a lot of apples on the ground right now,'' David Martin said. ``When that wind came around at 3 a.m. it was pretty fierce. It knocked down some pretty big trees that I thought would never fall.''

June 16, 2010. From the James Dudley collection showing damage on the Bryan Rd. canal.

The Poughkeepsie Journal, March 14, 1846.