North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores weathers the storm

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North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores weathers the storm

North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores weathers the storm


PINE KNOLL SHORES, N.C. – Like the rest of East Coast, the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is reeling from the impact of Hurricane Florence, which hit late Friday evening. Despite the hurricane’s sustained winds and torrential rains, the Aquarium fared well.

“We are thankful the wind speeds have decreased but are concerned about the duration of time the storm will be hammering the coastline with strong winds, coastal surge and rainfall measured in feet,” said Hap Fatzinger, Aquarium director.

 Two staff members were able to reach the Aquarium on Saturday morning and were pleased to report minimal damage and no flooding.

 “It appears that all of the animals have done well,” said Stuart May, Aquarium assistant director. “It is important now, to assess the generator fuel supply and ensure all of the animals are taken care of.”

In addition to little building damage, the Aquarium docks and overlooks are still in place.

 Aquarium staff began clearing trees and brush Friday afternoon in preparation for the coming storm.

 The Aquarium closed Monday evening to visitors, however staff continued to work through Wednesday afternoon to ensure everything was done to take care of the animals they love so dearly.

 “We are all thankful for the preparations our staff have put in place to provide the best opportunities for our animals,” Fatzinger said. “Staff will continue to monitor life-support operations remotely while conditions allow.”

 “We have received an outpouring of support from our community and Association of Zoos and Aquariums colleagues and are thankful to know you have our backs after the storm passes,” Fatzinger said. “For now, we are hanging in there and praying for the best possible outcome at each of the Aquariums and Jeannnette’s Pier, as well as our surrounding communities.”

The Aquarium Division Director, David Griffin shared the northern facilities fared well.

 “Hurricane Florence spared the northern portions of the state, with minimal impact to the Aquarium at Roanoke Island and Jeannette’s Pier. A few shingles, a few leaks and some tree limbs down represent the impact to these two facilities. Power was never lost to either of these facilities,” Griffin said. “Dare County lifted their mandatory evacuation for residents this morning, with visitors able to return tomorrow morning. Both Roanoke Island and Jeanette’s Pier will reopen to the public under normal hours tomorrow September 16.” 

 Aquarium staff from throughout the division are working closely with local authorities and are ready to help in any way.

 “This storm has effected our community in a way that can yet be measured. We are standing by ready to assist with cleanup operations as soon as possible,” said Fatzinger. “We are thankful for all of the crews that have come from all over the country to help our community. I am truly humbled by the support shown even though we are not yet on the other side of the storm’s effect.”



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