Beaufort County battered by winter storm, prepares for another

Published 10:33 am Thursday, January 11, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Heavy rains and high winds battered Beaufort County and surrounding Eastern North Carolina counties as a storm system pelted the east coast on Tuesday night, Jan. 9. 

There were no major structural damages and no major flooding issues, Beaufort County Emergency Services Director, Chris Newkirk said. There were reports of downed power lines and trees and metal carport awnings were damaged due to wind. 

According to a water gauge in Washington, there was 4.6 ft of water in the city. In Belhaven, there was a reported 3 ft. of water. “We kind of had water where we expected to have water with storms like this,” Newkirk said. 

Wind gusts in Washington topped 48 mph, but in Aurora and Belhaven wind gusts reached between 41 and 42 miles per hour. 

The peak number of power outages in Beaufort County occurred at around 10 p.m. with 2,500 residents reporting. 

As of Wednesday morning, there were 742 residences reported having a power outage, according to Beaufort County Emergency Services, but by the afternoon nearly all power was restored. 

Beaufort County was under a tornado watch from 6:40 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Belhaven Mayor Ricky Credle declared a State of Emergency for the town which enacted a curfew from 8 p.m. Tuesday night to 6 a.m. Wednesday morning. 

The severe weather threat was declared over by U.S. National Weather Service Newport/ Morehead City at 10:55 p.m. on Tuesday. 

Severe weather will return to the area this weekend. The Beaufort County Emergency Office shared the following forecast for Friday and Saturday: 


Rain chances will increase after 7pm Friday and continue through mid-morning, with most areas currently forecasted to receive ¼ to ½” of an inch.


Our forecasted winds will transition through various intensities and direction as follows:

Friday 1pm – 8pm: SE winds sustained between 10 and 15 mph with frequent gust of 20 to 25 mph.

Friday 9pm – Saturday 1am: South winds sustained between 15 and 20 mph with frequent gusts of 30 to 35 mph.

Saturday 2am – 6am: SW winds between 15 and 20 mph with frequent gusts of 25 to 35 mph.

Saturday 7am – Sunday 1am: West winds sustained between 15 and 25 mph with frequent gusts of 25 to 35 mph.


Most of our county’s shoreline communities will experience 10 to 12 hrs of elevated water levels Friday evening as we endure SE and south winds. While surge amounts have yet to be included in the forecast, our office would not be surprised to see references of inundation levels ranging between 1 and 3 feet above normally dry ground in future updates.

Water levels will then reverse and be below normal on Saturday as west winds pull water from most of our waterways.

Severe Storms

Severe thunderstorms capable of producing damaging winds and isolated tornadoes will be possible between 7pm and midnight Friday.

Residents should be aware of the potential for increased wind gusts from Friday night and into Saturday morning.