Local, state, federal partners installing beach webcams in Corolla to boost hazard monitoring

One of the webcams is adjacent to the Hampton Inn beach access at Pine Island. [courtesy Steven Pyle/Currituck County]

Currituck County will be one of the first coastal communities in the United States to participate in a project utilizing coastal web cameras for quantitative scientific analysis, public safety, and resource management for coastal municipalities.

This is a NOAA funded project called Webcams for Coastal Observations and Operational Support (WebCOOS).

Currituck County is partnering with Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA), University of South Carolina, University of North Carolina Wilmington, University of California Santa Cruz, Axiom Data Science, NOAA (CO-OPS), U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to install new web cameras on the oceanfront in Corolla.

The cameras are at Currituck mile post 3 adjacent to the Hampton Inn at Pine Island, and mile post 8 at Whalehead, and will have integrated cutting-edge technology with scientific and public health applications.

“This will give the team the ability to monitor two locations which may have differing beach conditions at any point in time,” said Steven Pyle, Currituck County Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator and the county’s manager of the project.

The team will use the data to alert and inform residents, visitors, and scientists about flooding, beach usage, beach and surf zone conditions (e.g., rip currents and coastal inundation), and water quality for swimmer safety.

The system will use a combination of artificial intelligence and machine learning software to monitor, assess, and report on beach hazards and activities. Additionally, live beach footage from both cameras will be available to the public to view from their desktop and mobile devices.

The project is anticipated to launch in spring 2022.