There’s no time like the present

Published 9:10 am Thursday, July 5, 2012

I think most in Jackson and Northampton County can agree it could have been far worse.

On Sunday, a severe thunderstorm ripped through Jackson toppling trees, damaging homes and businesses and rattling nerves.

The storm resulted in a few area homes and businesses losing portions of their roofs. The Northampton Memorial Library sustained facial damage from a fallen tree and the awning of a service station was blown off.

At Bryant Farm, just outside the town limits, a metal storage barn was leveled.

In Woodland, there was damage to trees and power lines on Main Street near Cedar Grove Friends Meeting. The Woodland Town Hall as of Tuesday morning did not have electricity. The strong winds also apparently sheered the front porch off of a home on Main Street.

Despite the severity of the damage, a county assessment showed the cause was due likely to severe straight-line winds, which are convective wind gusts from strong thunderstorms. Wind speeds can reach hurricane strength with these gusts and can be just as destructive as a small tornado.

Scenes like the one in Jackson on Sunday evening remind people of the potential danger Mother Nature presents in the spring and summer months.

It was just over a year ago that Bertie County and a portion of Hertford County saw twin tornados tear a path through their communities. That storm took 12 lives and caused more than $30 million in damage.

Yes indeed, Northampton was blessed.

It’s times like this that are perfect for rehashing and revising your own emergency plans. And if you don’t have one, it’s time you formulate one.

Pinpoint a place in your home (or a neighbor’s home if you live in a mobile home) secure enough to ride out the storm. Have your medications available; keep plenty of bottled water and non-perishable and easy prepared food.

An emergency kit filled with first aid, blankets, personal hygiene items and important documents should be on hand and at all times and ready to go.

Flashlights and an emergency hand crank radio also need to be kept handy.

Staying informed on weather updates is another way of being prepared.

Northampton County does offer DeltAlert to its residents. The automated message system is utilized to inform citizens of various emergencies and urgent messages from inclement weather to boil water advisories.

The messages can be delivered to your telephone, cell phone and email. However, citizens must sign up in order to benefit from the service.

A link to sign your household up for the urgent messages is available on For those who do not have Internet service you can sign up by calling 574-0214.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: or call (252) 332-7209.