Top Stories of 2012 – No. 8: Sandy spares North CarolinaPublished 9:16pm Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Unlike the destruction it caused in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, Hurricane Sandy left North Carolina relatively unscathed.
As Hurricane Sandy approached the North Carolina coast, the question was would it make landfall or remain off the coast. In Beaufort County, emergency-service personnel were not taking any chances. Preparations to deal with a landfall by Hurricane Sandy began early.
Aside from scattered and minor power outages and flooding, Beaufort County weathered Hurricane Sandy well, according to John Pack, director of Beaufort County Emergency Services.
“So far, so good. It’s been amazing,” Pack said when asked how the county fared as Sandy passed off the North Carolina coast during the last weekend in October. “We really came through this thing much better than I would have expected.”
As a precautionary measure because of high winds associated with Hurricane Sandy, Beaufort County schools closed.
The county was prepared to open up to four shelters, but the shelters never opened.
As Hurricane Sandy passed off the North Carolina coast that last weekend in October, the Smoke on the Water festival in Washington went on, despite strong winds and rain. Some festival events, such as the fire-engine pull, were postponed.
Although the worst of Hurricane Sandy did not come to Beaufort County, the county was ready. Being proactive instead of reactive is the thing to do when it comes to hurricanes, Pack said two days before Hurricane Sandy passed off the North Carolina coast.
“I’ve notified all first-responder agencies to do what they do — make sure their trucks are full (of fuel), make sure their chainsaws are sharpened. Do all those little things when we know something’s coming, or the possibility it’s coming, to make it easier for us to respond, keep roads open and help people,” Pack said then.
While Hurricane Sandy may have given North Carolina a glancing blow, it delivered a knockout punch farther north, with New York, New Jersey and Connecticut suffering the most damage. Seaside towns in New Jersey and on Long Island experienced major flooding. In New York City, the subway system was flooded. Weeks after the hurricane passed, power outages continued and thousands were left homeless. People were killed.
North Carolina residents could empathize. They’ve been through similar death and destruction caused by hurricanes. This time with Hurricane Sandy, those North Carolina residents were the lucky ones.