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.
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.