Local area spared brunt of Dorian’s wrath

Published 10:57 am Friday, September 6, 2019

As dawn broke Friday, the majority of the Roanoke-Chowan area citizens realized that they had been spared the worse of Hurricane Dorian’s wrath. The storm briefly made landfall at Cape Hatteras shortly before 9 a.m. today, but was quickly moving out into the Atlantic Ocean.

The wind and rain locally are beginning to lessen this morning (Friday). One weather forecast showed that area citizens may see a peek of sunshine later this afternoon.

All local EOC’s (Emergency Operations Center) remain activated and staffed as of Friday morning.

Chris Smith, Hertford County’s Emergency Management Director, reported this morning that periods of rain will continue, perhaps lingering into the afternoon.

“We will look at conditions and operations later today as to lifting the SOE (State of Emergency) and any associated restrictions,” Smith stated.

Smith supplied information in regards to the two evacuation shelters still open in the county. There, 44 individuals sought refuge: 28 at Hertford County High School and 16 at Hertford County Middle School.

As of 6 a.m. today, there were only 12 power outages in Hertford County. All 12 were Dominion Power customers.

Smith noted no reports of storm damage as of daybreak Friday.

Weather conditions are expected to gradually improve in Bertie County. Scott Sauer, county manager, said this morning that the winds will slow down after 9 a.m. and are expected to become calm by 3 p.m.

There were a couple of reports of downed trees this morning in Bertie: one at US 13/17 at Cedar Landing Road, and the other on the US 17 Bypass at mile marker 219.

Bertie had only one reported power outage this morning.

“Our concerns now are for Saturday as Windsor could see some minor river flooding that will effect the park area and behind the Town Hall,” Sauer said.

As of early this morning, the Cashie River was at 5.06 feet. Flood stage is 8 feet and the river is expected to crest at 10.6 feet on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Bertie Emergency Management Director Mitch Cooper said he plans to make decisions on closing evacuation shelters and terminating the State of Emergency later this morning.

“It seems that we are on the back side of the storm,” Cooper said. “We still have possible gusts in the 40’s to 50’s until after 1 pm today. There is also the likelihood of two more inches of rain this afternoon. I believe we are through the worst of the storm, but we must remain vigilant throughout the early afternoon.”

In Northampton County, no major issues there have been no major issues associated with the hurricane so far, according to Ronald Storey, Jr., the county’s Emergency Management Director.

Storey said there was a power outage in Woodland, but the cause doesn’t appear to be weather-related.

The CRES shelter in Jackson at the Cultural & Wellness Center is still open and housing a few dozen evacuees from the coast.

Loss of electrical power is the main problem today in Gates County. As of 11 a.m., Roanoke Electric Cooperative was reporting 1,105 outages in Gates County. System-wide, REC is reporting 1,208 members without power.

As of this morning, the center of the R-C area (from northwestern Gates County down through Winton, Ahoskie, and Windsor) had received 1.5-to-2 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service Office in Wakefield, VA. Areas slightly to the east received 2-to-3” while areas slightly west (the western edge of Hertford and Bertie counties and most all of Northampton County) had 1-to-1.5 inches.

Hurricane Dorian, now with winds of 90 mph, is expected to continue its northeast track today, moving it away from the North Carolina coast. However, the R-C area, as do most inland sections of northeastern North Carolina, remains under a Tropical Storm Warning.

Weather conditions will greatly improve on Saturday where skies will be mostly sunny with a high of 84 degrees.