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Feb 13, 5:08 PM EST

Iconic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse goes dark for repairs

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AP Photo/Cliff Owen

BUXTON, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina's iconic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse has gone dark for about a month while officials await custom-made parts for storm damage repairs.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Nate Cox, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman, said the light has been off since mid-January after machinery was damaged by storms. He said replacement parts are being made by a company in Ohio and should arrive soon. Cox compared the process to finding parts for an antique car. The lighthouse was built in 1870, replacing an earlier structure.

Cox said modern ships use GPS and digital mapping so the repairs haven't sidelined a primary navigation tool.

The current outage, although unusually long, should be shorter than several months in 1999 when the lighthouse went dark so it could be moved.

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