County under a tropical storm warning as Michael approaches

Published 12:52 am Thursday, October 11, 2018

Beaufort County Schools students will be released early Thursday, will delay school start on Friday, and county emergency services personnel are keeping an eye on Michael as it approaches North Carolina.

According to a Beaufort County Schools, schools will dismiss three hours early on Thursday, and all afterschool activities, practices, etc. are cancelled. BCS plans to operate on a 2-hour delay on Friday. However, if conditions worsen and Friday classes need to be canceled, BCS will announce that change as soon as possible, a BCS notice read.

Beaufort County was upgraded from tropical storm watch to tropical storm warning Wednesday afternoon as the Category 4 Hurricane Michael made landfall, devastating Panama City, Florida, and other towns along and inland of the Florida panhandle.

The rapidly moving storm continues to plow through the southeast, and for eastern North Carolinians, tropical storm conditions will ramp up during the day Thursday and continue into Friday.

“We’re pretty confident we’re going to have sustained winds of 20 to 30 mph and for most of our area it will be upper-20s,” said Chris Newkirk, Beaufort County fire/emergency management chief. “We probably won’t hit that 25-hour mark until the 5 o’clock hour (Thursday) and particularly through the early morning hours (Friday).”

Gusts of 35 mph and greater can be expected, as well, he said.

Newkirk commented on the unusual nature of Hurricane Michael—how just three days before it made landfall, the storm was nothing but clouds over the Gulf of Mexico, then rapid intensification.

“The storm’s been a little different. We watched this storm strengthen all the way up ‘til it made landfall,” Newkirk said.

By the time Michael reaches North Carolina it’s set to be downgraded to a tropical storm, its impact a fraction of that made by Florence on Sept. 14.

“Our stress with this storm — we are not expecting any storm surge, or any flooding from elevated river levels —  what we do expect is some localized flash flooding from heavy bands (of rain) moving through our area. We could very likely see something like that, but no widespread flooding like we saw during Florence,” Newkirk said.

Newkirk said those areas that historically flood during a hard rain will likely experience the same as Michael moves through the area.

“Any of those areas that have been prone to that in the past, we expect that to be a possibility as we move through the next 36 hours,” Newkirk said on Wednesday evening.

Unlike Florence, Michael is forecasted to move through the state quickly.

“Based on the forecast, Friday is going to be a little different: it’s probably going to be sunny, or clearing up, but from 8 o’clock to noon, we’re projected to see our highest winds,” Newkirk said. “I think by midafternoon, sunset, on Friday, we’re going to be back to some lighter winds — I’d say 15 mph or less. And Saturday is supposed to be beautiful.

The National Weather Service in Newport/Morehead City warns that eastern North Carolinians could potentially experience the following over the course of Thursday into Friday.


  • Damage to porches, awnings, carports, sheds, and unanchored mobile homes. Unsecured lightweight objects blown about.
  • Many large tree limbs broken off. A few trees snapped or uprooted, but with greater numbers in places where trees are shallow rooted. Some fences and roadway signs blown over.
  • A few roads impassable from debris, particularly within urban or heavily wooded places. Hazardous driving conditions on bridges and other elevated roadways.
  • Scattered power and communications outages.


  • Moderate rainfall flooding may prompt several evacuations and rescues.
  • Rivers and tributaries may quickly become swollen with swifter currents and overspill their banks in a few places, especially in usually vulnerable spots. Small streams, creeks, canals and ditches overflow.
  • Flood waters can enter some structures or weaken foundations. Several places may experience expanded areas of rapid inundation at underpasses, low-lying spots and poor drainage areas. Some streets and parking lots take on moving water as storm drains and retention ponds overflow. Driving conditions become hazardous. Some road and bridge closures.