Bye-bye, Earl

Published 11:15 am Friday, September 3, 2010

If there is anything such as a good hurricane, Earl was it.

The storm, a monster earlier this week at a Category 4 level (145 mph), remained just far enough offshore as it churned northward to not cause any widespread damage.

“We don’t get hurricanes better than this….a nice little soaking rain, no wind, and a nice breeze to cool things down,” said Bertie County Emergency Management Director Rickey Freeman in a telephone interview this morning (Friday) with the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald.

Bertie County was among 18 eastern North Carolina counties to be placed under a hurricane warning late in the day on Wednesday.

“The only reason for that is we have a small portion of the county touching the Albemarle Sound,” Freeman noted. “It was breezy here, but we had no major amount of wind.”

Freeman said he checked the weather reporting station at Green’s Cross (north of Windsor) and noted a wind gust of 47 mph. He said that occurred between 8-9 p.m. Thursday.

“That was the highest reading we had and it was just a brief gust of wind,” he said.

Earlier this morning, Freeman said he was on a conference call with emergency management officials in other counties.

“I was listening to the Dare County folks talk about how they felt this storm wasn’t as bad for them as first thought,” Freeman said. “They had some spotty power outages and some wind damage, but nothing like what they were expecting.”

Some local public and private schools delayed their openings for up to two hours this morning.

As expected with the storm immediately off the coast, the Outer Banks, especially Hatteras and Ocracoke islands, witnessed some damage. Ocean and sound over wash covered portions of NC 12 as well as residential and commercial areas. Trees and power lines suffered damage as Earl’s winds reached near hurricane-strength (74 mph) along the tiny strip of land known as the Outer Banks.

The eye of the storm remains offshore, nearing the North Carolina/Virginia line at 9 a.m. on Friday. With sustained winds of 105 mph, Earl was listed as a Category 2 storm. It was moving north-northeast at 18 mph.

As of 9 a.m. this morning (Friday), the National Hurricane Center had dropped the hurricane warning for the western portions of the Albemarle Sound, which includes Bertie County. Warnings were also discontinued for the North Carolina coast south of Cape Lookout.

A hurricane watch for north of the North Carolina/Virginia border to Cape Henlopen, Delaware has also been dropped.

Weather officials did keep a tropical storm warning in place from the NC/VA border to Sandy Hook, NJ.

As for the Roanoke-Chowan area, look for improving weather as the day progresses. The clouds and brief periods of light rain will give way to sunny skies by early afternoon, with a high temperature of 97. Tonight will be partly cloudy with a low in the mid-60’s.

The forecast for the Labor Day weekend calls for sunny skies Saturday through Monday with highs in the mid-80’s and lows in upper 50’s.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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