R-C area spared Sandy’s wrath

Published 11:23 am Saturday, October 27, 2012

While the Roanoke-Chowan area has been spared the wrath of Hurricane Sandy, this extremely large and dangerous storm continues to move parallel to the East Coast, with a turn to the northwest expected today (Monday).

Sandy is expected to make landfall along the central New Jersey coast Monday evening. In addition to long periods of sustained tropical storm-force winds, the storm will produce historic surge levels along the coast, including New York Harbor.

Locally, the storm only caused a few downed trees and, thankfully, no flooding issues as earlier predicted. There were also no local reports of power outages.

“There not much to report here on our end,” said Chris Smith, Hertford County Emergency Management Director, on Monday morning. There are no reports of flooding, power outage or road closures. I did have a report of one tree down on NC 561 Sunday night…the fire department and Sheriff’s Office handled that situation.”

Smith said the rain should begin to taper off Monday.

“We may have some stray showers from outlaying bands of the storm, but the worst of the rain should be done,” he stated. “As of Monday morning we only had 1.9 inches of rain from the storm, as shown in our gauge at the (Winton) office. That total is far below the 4-to-6 inches that were earlier predicted for our area.”

Smith added that the forecast calls for tropical storm force winds for all of Monday and into the evening hours.

“However, the winds have been somewhat under the prediction so far,” he said.

Smith added, “I haven’t noted any impacts or damage to the roads here in the county. I did not really even see a lot of ponding water in low lying areas. The wind is blowing the Chowan River out, so that is down. There’s still the opportunity for tree to fall because of the saturated ground, but hopefully we’ll escape any of that.”

Bertie Emergency Management Coordinator Mitch Cooper said there has been little to report in the county.

During the weekend, there was only one incident reported due to Hurricane Sandy and that was a tree across the road in the Elm Grove community. Cooper said the North Carolina Department of Transportation cleared the road quickly and it was once again open.

Though Bertie County touches the Albemarle Sound, Cooper said he sees little chance of any flooding in the area.

“The National Weather Service didn’t even include us in the advisory,” he said. “Chowan and Washington were, but we were not.”

He also said there was no real concern of flooding on the Cashie River.

“Right now it is about two and a half feet below where we would have concern,” he said.

The river is at 2.88 feet above normal and would have to reach six feet before there was any real concern.

The National Weather Service forecast for the next few days is as follows:

Monday – Rain. High near 54. Breezy with a west wind 21 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 37 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

Monday night –  Rain likely. Mostly cloudy with a low around 42. Breezy with a west wind around 25 mph, with gusts as high as 47 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

Tuesday –  A chance of showers. Cloudy with a high near 51. Breezy with a southwest wind around 22 mph, with gusts as high as 34 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

Tuesday night – A slight chance of showers. Mostly cloudy with a low around 39. Breezy with a southwest wind 13 to 21 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Wednesday – Partly sunny with a high near 56. Southwest wind 8 to 14 mph.

Those with electrical service from Roanoke Electric Cooperative can call, toll-free, 1-800-433-2236 to report power outages. Dominion NC Power customers can call 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357) in the event of outages or downed lines.

Hurricane Sandy will probably grow into a “Frankenstorm” that may become the worst to hit the U.S. Northeast in 100 years if current forecasts are correct. Computer models suggest the hurricane may transform into a hybrid system over the weekend because of another storm moving in from the Midwest. Sandy may combine that storm to create a system that would rival the New England hurricane of 1938 in intensity.


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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