Locally-produced Ash Wednesday Storm documentary features first-hand survival stories

Published 11:20 pm Tuesday, August 29, 2023

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On Thursday, September 14, 2023, Outer Banks history will be revised as new details of the terrifying impacts of the 20th century’s strongest nor’easter are revealed in a mini documentary titled, “The Ash Wednesday Storm in Nags Head,” announced The Town of Nags Head.

A co-production of the Town of Nags Head and the Outer Banks History Center, the documentary’s premiere will be held Thursday, September 14 at 2:30 p.m. in the Oceanview Hall at Jennette’s Pier, located at 7223 South Virginia Dare Trail in Nags Head. The event is free and open to the public. Immediately following the premier of the 30-minute-long video, a question and answer opportunity will take place.

Funded by a grant from CurrentTV and produced by Rayolight Productions, the documentary features several never-before-documented stories of survival of the storm, which is estimated to have destroyed or significantly damaged thousands of homes along the East Coast.

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Over several days in March 1962, an unusual combination of weather elements caused a massive storm to slowly churn off the East Coast. Over five high tide cycles, Nags Head residents fought for their lives, noted the announcement.

Storm survivor Juanita Wescott explains in the video that, during the storm, her family wasn’t thinking about the future and whether they would have a home or jobs to return to; instead, they were wondering if they were going to survive. Her story is just one of several that explain what it was like to live through the life-changing event.

“While storm forecasting technology has changed significantly since 1962, it’s still important to remember that we live in a beautiful, but fragile area,” said Nags Head Mayor Ben Cahoon. “It’s essential to understand that this frightening scenario could happen again – and we should be prepared for that.”

Those unable to attend the premiere can watch the documentary later on CurrentTV’s YouTube channel, which can be accessed by visiting YouTube.com/CurrentTVOBX.

Trailers for the video are available at YouTube.com/TownofNagsHead.