Torrential downpours effects Beaufort County|TOP 10 Stories No. 9

Published 2:54 pm Sunday, December 26, 2010

Staff Writer

Tropical Storm Nicole paid a visit to Beaufort County in September, bringing torrential downpours and enough flooding to earn the ninth spot on the Top 10 stories of 2010 list.
Residents suffered everything from flooded houses, damaged vehicles, and lost crops. Many roads, including U.S. Highway 264, were closed for several days.
Several people in the county were rescued from their homes and transported to Red Cross shelters. The shelter at P.S. Jones Middle School housed nearly 60 people during the flooding.
The storm waters also created heroes out of two local men – Mike Johnson of Cherry Run Road and Troy Hencye of Bear Grass – as they rescued a man who nearly drowned in a submerged vehicle.
Flooding was common throughout Washington as drenching downpours snarled traffic and caused vehicles to stall with drivers attempting to negotiate submerged streets, said Lt. William Chrismon of the Washington Police Department.
The National Weather Service website indicated western Beaufort County had received 2.5 to 3 inches of rain by 1:30 p.m. the first day.
A low-pressure area formed well south of the state and began moving north along a stalled front, squeezing more moisture over the region as Tropical Storm Nicole moved up the southeast coast.
According to National Weather Service reports at the time, it was thought the worst of Nicole would stay offshore, deflected by the stationary rain that had parked over the east, but the storm would morph into an “extra-tropical” system and keep the front in place long enough to deliver even more of a drenching rain locally.
Due to the flooding, schools were closed and constant changes in the weather forecast were distributed to parents via the schools’ automated system.
Emergency personnel remained busy as Washington Fire Chief Robbie Rose said his department responded to some vehicle accidents that were more than likely weather-related.
In Belhaven, Town Manager Guinn Leverett said town officials had been told to expect 46-57 mph wind gusts, a two to four-foot storm surge and four to six inches of rain through the duration of the storm.
Staff Writer Jonathan Clayborne contributed to this report.