The Emergency Management Group for Carteret County made the cautious call to kick its long-planned and heavily resourced emergency response strategy into overdrive for monster Hurricane Earl. That plan involved mandatory evacuation of the barrier island and the opening of shelters in a couple of schools. This required the closing of schools for all county students on Thursday and Friday.
As predicted by every computer model and forecaster, the eye of Hurricane Earl was influenced by a classic low pressure steering current from the west and a high in the ocean. As predicted, the eye stayed about 100 miles offshore of the Crystal Coast’s Emerald Isle area. Of course, a westward wobble–for which a low probability existed–could have proven disastrous for Carteret with this Cat 3 monster.
Our down east Carteret neighbors, in very flood-prone land, would have had a closer brush. In Morehead City, we did not see significant wind and rain until 8:00 pm Thursday. (We had a gust of about 48 miles per hour and almost an inch of rain.) And the last of Earl is still producing a gentle soaking rain at 5:30 am.
Also at 5:30 am, the mandatory evacuation orders have been lifted and tourists who did not run back home are now welcome to return to our barrier islands.
At this same early hour of the morning, the storm’s rotation is just about to clear western Carteret County…and will be long gone by 9:oo am. This will be followed quickly by clearing, brilliant sun, and oven-like temps in the upper 90’s. This will have a significant drying out effect. And we should still be able to play the big cross-county rivalry game between West and Croatan scheduled for 7:30 tonight. (Consult school websites for details as day progresses.)
Soon daylight will arrive and actual reports of damage will be reported. I did not lose power here in Morehead. However, a total of 226 residences in Morehead City and New Bern reportedly did lose power.
Our Outer Banks neighbors in places like Ocracoke, Hatteras, and Kill Devil Hills did not suffer a direct hit but did bear the brunt of the storm…as predicted. As is traditional, significant flooding is being reported there.
So, all of our schools are closed for two days, which wrapped with the Labor Day weekend makes a five-day summer weekend for our students. Tuesday will be like the first day of school again for many of our students.
FYI–Here’s how our neighboring school systems and Emergency Management Groups handled their situations:
- Onslow: regular school day on Thursday with afternoon activities canceled; two-hour delay on Friday.
- Jones: 1:00 dismissal on Thursday; two-hour delay on Friday.
- Craven: 1:00 dismissal on Thursday; three-hour delay on Friday.
- Pamlico: 1:00 dismissal on Thursday; three-hour delay on Friday.
- Ocracoke schools: closed Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
- Hyde mainland schools: 1:00 dismissal on Thursday; closed on Friday.
- Dare: closed Thursday and Friday