County braces for Arthur

Published 6:09 pm Wednesday, July 2, 2014


CALM BEFORE THE STORM: For the first time since its installation on the waterfront, a historic Washington weather tower boasts a storm warning flag, in advance of the coming hurricane. City of Washington network administrator David Carraway hoisted the flag Wednesday morning, in the stead of Washington resident Ray Midgett, who usually heads up the changing-of-the-weather duty.


As the first named storm of the season barrels up the coastline, a hurricane warning has been issued for Beaufort County.

As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, the National Weather Service announced the center of Tropical Storm Arthur had moved 105 nautical miles to the west, prompting a hurricane warning for Beaufort County. The storm is expected to move north and strengthen to a Category 1 hurricane as it approaches North Carolina late Thursday night and pass along the coast Thursday night into Friday.

According to Beaufort County Emergency Services Coordinator John Pack, what happens to the storm between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday will determine what Beaufort County residents need to brace for.

“If it doesn’t make that turn between two and eight then it will be lined up and we’ll have another Irene as far as the track. It’ll be moving faster than Irene,” Pack said, referring to Hurricane Irene, the large, slow moving hurricane that devastated much of Beaufort and surrounding counties in 2011.

If Arthur stays on projected paths, the small storm will hit the coastline overnight Thursday then head out to open ocean by 8 a.m. Friday. In that scenario, Beaufort County can expect to see some tropical storm force winds and 1 to 2 inches of rain in the western part of the county, and 2 to 3 inches in eastern Beaufort County. Pack said officials are watching the path and predicted rainfall and surge amounts to determine whether low lying areas should be issued a voluntary evacuation.

At 10 a.m. today, Emergency Management will meet to assess the options, Pack said.

“If it continues to move to the west, all bets are off: we’ll open two shelters and do what we have to do,” Pack said.

Other entities are making preparations, as well. According to a press release from Tideland EMC, a utilities provider, the company is staying ahead of Tropical Storm Arthur. Tideland has activated an additional five-man contract crew in Beaufort County and will bring in crews from outside electric cooperatives to assist with power restoration should there be outages during the storm.

Pack said there’s no way to predict what the unexpected storm will do, until later today.

“I think everybody’s doing the best they can with the information they’ve got,” Pack said. “We’re preparing, preparing, preparing and doing what we do and praying none of it is required to be used.”