Localized flooding

Some areas of Morehead City experienced localized flooding from Hurricane Dorian, but officials say overall there was little damage from the storm. (Town of Morehead City photo)

Editor's note: This article was last updated Sept. 7 at 3:25 p.m.

MOREHEAD CITY — Although Hurricane Dorian scraped by the North Carolina coast as a Category 1 storm Thursday night into Friday, by Saturday morning, city officials say it almost looks like it never happened.

“I think we fared pretty good,” Morehead City Mayor Jerry Jones said Saturday morning. “…If you ride around, it looks like we’re already cleaned up. We’ve been working hard, we’ve got crews working today that normally wouldn’t work on weekends, but we’re doing what we have to do to get back to normal as quickly as possible.”

The storm brought high winds and heavy rain, leaving behind some localized street flooding, downed limbs, debris and power outages across the county. However, Mayor Jones said he wasn’t aware of any lingering flooding, and line crews with Duke Energy and Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative have reduced power outages to just a fraction of what they were during the peak of the storm.

The mayor also wasn’t aware of any injuries in town, and said emergency personnel did an excellent job throughout the event.

Mayor Jones said crews were sent out Friday and Saturday to assess damage, and they didn’t come across much. Some residents reported minor building damage, but downed tree limbs and scattered debris seemed to be the extent of it for most residents.

Public buildings also fared well, though city hall on Arendell Street is still undergoing repairs to the roof from last year’s Hurricane Florence. Government offices, which were closed Thursday and Friday due to Dorian, will reopen at 8 a.m. Monday for regular business.

In addition, a curfew enacted Thursday night was lifted Friday afternoon and not reinstated.

Mayor Jones said the city learned a lot from last year’s Hurricane Florence that was implemented this year. He said they were better organized this time around, holding pre-hurricane meetings, outlining protocols for the different departments and personnel and communicating more effectively with residents and each other.

“We took advantage of last year because of Florence being such a catastrophic hurricane and lasting so long. I don’t know if you can ever be over-prepared, but we were prepared,” he said. “…It’s quite obvious it was a lot easier, a lot smoother this year.”

The mayor also called in swift water rescue crews to the city in advance of the storm, but no rescues were necessary.

Overall, Mayor Jones seemed to think the county got lucky with Dorian, and he was thankful it was not a repeat of last year’s benchmark storm.

“We finally had a normal hurricane,” he said. “Just historically, these things come up the coast, they follow that coastline and they generally get in and out in 12 hours or so. They don’t stay around for two days like Florence did.”

Contact Elise Clouser at elise@thenewstimes.com; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.

Previous report

MOREHEAD CITY — Based on preliminary damage assessments, city officials say it appears the county’s most populated municipality got through Hurricane Dorian relatively unscathed.

Morehead City Communications Director Alizé Proisy said Friday around noon there is some localized flooding, minor property damage and scattered debris, but overall, it doesn’t seem too severe. She said she rode around with the city manager and fire chief Friday morning noting damage, and four crews were scheduled to hit the streets to begin an official assessment at noon.

“I honestly think we got extremely lucky,” she said. “…It was a long night, we lost power a couple times, but we were up keeping everyone updated as much as we could throughout it.”

Ms. Proisy said it seems there is no or only minor damage to public buildings and she expects government offices to reopen Monday. She added crews have already begun cleaning up the mess, removing debris and downed trees from roadways.

Like many others, Ms. Proisy compared Dorian to last year’s Hurricane Florence, and said it was not nearly as bad as the benchmark 2018 storm.

“After Florence, everyone was on heightened awareness,” she said. “We’re glad to have gotten through this one.”

Officials lifted the citywide curfew at noon, but it may be reinstated at 7 p.m. if power outages are still widespread. In that case, the curfew will last from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. until power is sufficiently restored to the city.

“That’s just a safety thing,” Ms. Proisy said. “Curfew just kind of depends if we can get the lights back on.”

In an 11 a.m. release, the city asked residents to only travel if necessary as there are still downed trees, flooded streets and debris making roadways unsafe. Many traffic lights are also not working. If you come to a non-functioning traffic light with no emergency workers directing traffic, treat the intersection as you would a four-way stop sign. Speed limits will be strictly enforced.

 

Contact Elise Clouser at elise@thenewstimes.com; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.

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