HC tornado unconfirmed

Published 9:30 am Tuesday, July 8, 2014

AHOSKIE – Damage to a home and a tobacco field near here were reported from Hurricane Arthur on Thursday night.

Meanwhile, over in BertieCounty, straight line winds were possibly to blame for roof damage to two homes.

Hertford County Emergency Management Director Chris Smith said the damage near Ahoskie was possibly connected to a short-lived tornado that quickly developed within one of the squall lines spinning off the hurricane as it churned off the coast.

The damaged home, Smith said, was on Hall Siding Road, northwest of Ahoskie. He stated the front porch of the home was blown into the back yard and the roof of a garage collapsed on top of parked vehicles. There was another carport on the property that was torn from its foundation and blown into a nearby wooded area.

Smith said no one was at the residence at the time of the incident.

A tobacco field along Saludia Hall Road, located near Hall Siding Road, suffered damage. Smith said it appeared a tornado struck that field.

“The tobacco plants were lying on the ground, twisted in different directions,” Smith said.

The presence of a tornado has yet to be confirmed in Hertford County by National Weather Service officials. However, there was a tornado warning issued for Hertford County from 10:45 until 11:20 p.m. on Thursday. Smith said the damage to the home occurred during that time frame.

Bertie County Emergency Management Director Mitch Cooper reported Monday to the county’s Board of Commissioners to update them on Hurricane Arthur and the storm’s aftermath.

“There were two homes in the county that received damage, and very minor damage to the roofs coming from straight line winds when we had our tornado warning in Colerain on Wynns Road,” Cooper told the board at their regularly scheduled meeting.  “We did have an emergency response with the fire department, EMS and myself.  Come to find out the power lines were hitting each other and the power company showed up within an hour to get that taken care of for us.  We did have a brief time with no power on that side of the county, but that was resolved rather quickly.”

As initially feared with the county under a Tropical Storm Warning with rainfall estimates as high as six inches, Cooper said that threat never materialized and there was no type of flooding.

“We fared fairly well with the storm, and I think in general the state (eastern part) fared pretty well because at the last minute our position got changed and our track got changed at 9:30 that night because we thought we were going to get hit harder.  We had a lot of contact with Department of Transportation, North Carolina Highway Patrol, the Forestry Service, and we stood ready for anything we felt we had to respond to,” Cooper stated.

According to www.weather.com, after forming June 30 as a tropical depression off the Florida coast, Hurricane Arthur tracked north-northeast and made landfall as a Category 2 hurricane, packing 100 mph winds, at 11:15 p.m. on July 3 at Shackleford Banks, just north of Cape Lookout (Atlantic Beach area). There, the hurricane had a peak land gust of 101 mph.

Arthur was the first hurricane of Category 2 or greater strength to make landfall in the lower 48 states since Hurricane Ike struck Texas on Sept. 13, 2008.

Additionally, Arthur made landfall earlier on the calendar than any other known hurricane in North Carolina history.

After spending some time over Pamlico Sound and brushing mainland parts of Dare and Hyde counties, the center of Arthur then crossed over the northern Outer Banks of North Carolina near Nags Head around 4:30 a.m. EDT on July 4.

A 4.48-foot storm surge (above normal tide levels) was reported in Oregon Inlet the morning of July 4, mainly from the sound (as opposed to ocean) side.

The storm turned out over the open waters of the Atlantic in a northeast direction towards the New England states. Torrential rainfall fell on parts of Bristol and Plymouth counties on the Massachusetts mainland on July 4 as moisture from Arthur interacted with a stalled frontal boundary. As much as 8 inches of rain fell in portions of Massachusetts.