Beaufort County spared by Earl

Published 2:00 pm Friday, September 3, 2010

Staff Writer

Hurricane Earl, which blew passed the North Carolina coast overnight, turned out to be a real zero in Beaufort County.
Zero power losses as a result of Earl. No road closures for trees. No bridge closures.
Most importantly, no significant injuries or deaths.
“It pulled away at the right time,” said John Pack, Beaufort County’s emergency-services coordinator. “There was nothing close to the tropical storm-force winds we expected.”
According to Pack, the highest sustained wind speed in the county was 28 miles per hour recorded at Washington’s Warren Field Airport overnight. Belhaven recorded a gust of 41 miles an hour. Aurora’s biggest gust was 38 mph.
A disturbance is classified as a tropical storm when sustained winds reach 39 miles per hour.
“This morning was like watching a whole different picture,” Pack said. “We couldn’t ask for more. Beaufort County went into this thing looking at its first Category 4 hurricane in county history, and that was not something we wanted to see.”
Emergency officials opened shelters Thursday at Northside and Southside high schools. Three people checked into Northside while five people spent the night at Southside. Both shelters closed at 7:30 a.m. Friday.
Hyde County was not as fortunate as maximum winds reached 73 mph on Ocracoke. There were reports of 3 feet of standing water in low-lying areas. The water was expected to recede during the day as Earl moved northward. Power outages were reported in 90 percent of the county. All but a handful of customers in mainland Hyde County had power restored by 11:30 a.m.