As the state slowly thawed Friday, the Outer Banks remained stubbornly frozen — a near-abandoned wasteland where only the waves could fight back.
The few drivers who braved roads skidded over a sheet of ice several inches thick.
Miles of U.S. 64, one of the state’s most-traveled roads, remained dangerously slick and unplowed through Dare County.
Croatan Sound, more than 3 miles wide, froze thick enough to bounce rocks. Chunks of ice floated through a narrow channel at its middle. The Intracoastal Waterway, the main north-south route for boats, looked suitable for skating at much of its width.
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What few residents remained on the barrier island huddled inside, safe from temperatures in the teens and winds strong enough to make a car shift lanes.
At the seven-story Comfort Inn, a clerk kept a space heater glowing on the front desk.
Icicles hung a foot long. Power poles leaned at rakish angles. Small boats sat frozen in place.
In this frozen new year, it was just another day at the beach.