Emergency Services Director thanks residents for staying alert

Published 2:38 pm Tuesday, December 19, 2023

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Last weekend was the second severe weather event Beaufort County has experienced since late September when Tropical Storm Ophelia made landfall. 

Chris Newkirk, Beaufort County Emergency Services Director, thanks Beaufort County residents for being alert and prepared for the impending weather. 

“Thank you for listening to all the forecast information, taking the necessary precautions and staying safe. That’s the biggest thank you we can give. It certainly makes things so much better from a public safety standpoint when that happens,” Newkirk said.  

The storm had “very minimal impacts” on Beaufort County, because of mitigation measures and citizens following forecasts and warnings published before the storm. 

“Did the storm give us what it was forecasted to give? Absolutely. Did it create significant damage across our county? It didn’t. To us, that’s a testament of our citizens being prepared and past mitigation efforts really showing the benefits of it,” Newkirk 

Predicted flooding, rainfall and wind gusts became a reality on Sunday, Dec. 17 and in the early morning hours of Monday, Dec. 18. 

Beaufort County was consistently forecasted to receive between three to six feet of flooding. Most areas received between four to five feet with most flooding occurring in the Belhaven area. 

Portions of the county reported having three-and-a-half inches of rain while others were indicating six inches of rainfall. 

Wind gusts were not as sustained as what the county is accustomed to seeing for hurricanes, Newkirk said. Elevated winds occurred as rain bands passed through. 

Power outages reached a peak of 1,233 outages at around 10 p.m. on Sunday night. Most of the power outages occurred in the Belhaven, Bayview, Sidney and Pamlico Beach areas. Power was restored by 1 a.m. on Monday. 

Belhaven Mayor, Ricky Credle, placed the town under a State of Emergency on Sunday night to prevent residents from driving through standing water in town. 

“The vehicle traffic in creating that movement through the water and the waves that come off of it – in the past Belhaven has had damage that was worsened, because of those activities,” Newkirk said explaining the State of Emergency alert. 

Residents should prepare for the potential of a colder winter and more winter storms. 

“It does look like the ingredients will be here this winter for us to have some real potential for cold temperatures and all the storms that are associated with that,” Newkirk said.