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It's Wednesday October 7, 2015 Dock Quote: “Knowing what you...

News From The Village Updated Almost Daily

Upcoming Events

October's High Waters:

Photos From An Unusual Flooding. The Story

Preparing For Hurricane Joaquin:

Oriental Prepares For The Threat Of A Hurricane. The Story

Tom Dixon:

1935-2015. The Story

Letters: On Robert Allen Miller's Shooting:

Reax To Portrayal By Friends. Letters To The Editor

Tractor Ancestry Challenged:

Writers Question Tractor Journalism. Letters To The Editor

A Friend Of Robert Miller Writes:

Long Time Friend & Sailor Tells Bob's Story. The Story

Letters: Roadside Herbicide Questioned:

Concern About Pamlico Waters. Letters To The Editor

Letters: Camp Creek Propopsal:

Is It Less Than Initially Promised. Letters To The Editor

2015 Oriental Dragon Boat Race :

6th Annual And 3rd At River Dunes. The Story

No More Hurricane Parking At Oriental Fire Station :

Its High Ground Is Staging Area Says Fire Dept. The Story

2015 Hoop Pole Regatta:

Weather Doesn't Deter Trouper Sailors. The Story

2nd Ol' Front Porch Music Festival Coming:

Call Out For Porches, Musicians, Artisans . The Story

Letters: Paramedic's Presence Missed:

Appreciation of Eric Kindle. Letters To The Editor

Letters: Big Appreciations For Croakerfest :

Thanks To Volunteers. Letters To The Editor

Letters: Thanks From Croakerfest's Garbology Unit:

Recycling More Than Before. Letters To The Editor

Croakerfest 2015 Schedule:

Friday, Saturday & Sunday. The Story

2015 Cardboard Boat Race:

2nd Annual At Paradise Cove Marina. The Story

Update: Bear On Deck Returns:

More Screens Damaged. New Concern: Propane Grillls . The Story

Letters: Another Boat Tax?:

Opposition To Plan To Fund Ocean Inlet Dredging . Letters To The Editor

Another State Boat Tax For More Ocean Inlet Dredging:

Pamlico Boaters To Pay, But Dredging Benefit In Question. The Story

Bear On Porch in Merritt:

Taking In A Bird Feeder Seemed Like A Good Idea. The Story

North Street Corn Belt:

Corn On The Grow. Drawing The Town

Town Wide Yard Sale 2015:

Treasures At A Glimpse. The Story

PAWS Pet Parade 2015:

Tenth Annual Celebration. The Story

2015 Oriental Boat Show:

Boats New and Old. The Story

Paddling The Neuse End to End :

Oriental Bound, Bringing Attention To The Waters. The Story

Anne of Mystic:

130 Year Old On First Trip South . The Shipping News

Birds Tangled In Fish Nets:

Two Rescues In March. The Story

Letters: Collegiate Sailing Events - Thank You:

A Village Made It Happen. Letters To The Editor

First Oriental Sailpack Invitational Regatta :

More College Events Possible This Year & Next. The Story

Prepping For The Regatta:

Spring Break Training in Oriental. The Story

5th Great Oyster Revival:

Fundraiser for Pamlico Community College. The Story

Seals Near Oriental?:

Far Outside Home Waters. The Story

Snow Fall in Oriental:

Change In Precip & The Landscape. The Story

Indoor Dragon Boat Race In Oriental:

First In US. The Story

Chinese New Year 2015 / 4713:

Year Of The Goat. Drawing The Town

Ice Encases Village:

A New Midwinter Look. The Story

18 FJ's Added To Bow To Stern Fleet:

It Takes Village Volunteers. The Story

Bika, Nordic Visitor:

The Suddenly Longer Sailboat. The Shipping News

Miss January 2015 - Tyra:

Pickers Dog. Pet Of The Month

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It’s pretty bad when the high water sign is under water. Water levels may be lower than yesterday, but roads are still flooded & impassable near the harbor & the Duck Pond. This was the scene at 11a Tuesday.

Tuesday October 6, 2015

7:48p Levels down a bit more. 3 ft even.

6:01p And water levels again going down. Might be something the high water tidal theory (see below). Salute to Jim Edwards correlating the water levels at his home/biz to area tides.

Look outside – you’ll spot a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Some blue skies.

4:02p Levels keep sneaking back up. Is it wind? It’s true, the north wind is there. But there may be something else as well. Oriental normally does not experience a noticeable lunar tide. But Beaufort, just over 20 miles away, gets a 3 to 4 ft tide. Could it be with unusually high water levels, we get a small but apparent tide here?

We saw water levels go down this morning. Low tide in Beaufort was 10am. Levels have been going up this afternoon. High tide in Beaufort today? Right now. High tide at Core Creek Bridge today (in between Oriental & Beaufort on Adams Creek)? 5pm.

Links To Ponder:
Oriental Water Level Gauge
Beaufort Water Level Gauge [overlaid with tide predictions]
Beaufort Tide Predictions
Core Creek Bridge Tide Predictions [this is on Adams Creek on the way to Beaufort]

3:08p Oh, how fickle, this water. Residents in the White Farm Road environs again dealing with ponding water on that one road in. Jim Barton writes:

What a difference a few hours makes. White Farm Road again near Falcon covered by runoff. As you are headed toward Town, stay right. The water is more shallow. Passable but take it easy. Wind shift to the NE is the culprit.

11:57a Water levels actually back up an inch. It is going to take a while (perhaps days) for this to clear.

But before you get weepy – it is forecast to be sunny & 75 Wednesday. With lighter north winds. Thursday much lighter winds (just 5 mph), which will let the water leave. Friday south winds to clear what’s left away.

11:40a Pamlico County Offices in Bayboro (see below) have reported Florence area roads passable. “Passable” may be subjective – Jennifer Smart sent this photo in (taken just 15 minutes ago):
florence flooded

10:38a From Pamlico County Offices in Bayboro:

Flood waters have receded in the Florence and Whortonsville areas but some localized flooding remains but most roads are clear to passable. Crews are currently checking areas but residents are encouraged to use caution while attempting to travel.

Goose Creek Island and the Hobucken and Lowland areas continue to have tidal flooding making travel difficult.
The emergency shelter at the community college is officially closed and the EOC will be shutting down in the next hour.

10:05a Robert Banks writes in from Pamlico:

Well, this is an interesting development. Two National Guard trucks cruised down Orchard Creek Road about 9:30 this morning, but one of them neglected to account for the drainage ditch. The second truck was able to tow the other from its mishap, but this should be a cautionary tale regarding any attempt to traverse flooded streets with a standard vehicle.
national guard truck stuck

national guard trucks

9:07a Almost another inch lower. We’ll take it.

8:14a Water levels static the last hour – last measurement 3.25 feet. That is over a foot lower from yesterday’s highs. Jim Barton reports White Farm Rd now OK:

Update on the White Farm area. Road completely passable from Dolphin Rd to Straight Road. No standing water except a small amount near Falcon on the outbound lane from Dolphin Point. Water along Pierce Creek in Dolphin Point has receded considerably.

8:11a It just isn’t our local ferry that is down from the weather:
ferry status

6:48a Down 3 inches in just the last hour. 3 1/4 feet now.

ferry logo6:42a Both Cherry Branch/Minnesott Beach and Bayview/Aurora ferry routes still not operating this morning due to high water levels.

6:21a It is Benjamin Franklin who is credited with the quote:

Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days

Let’s complain about the weather
And that is the thing about Storm Septoct. Sure, it beats getting a hurricane, but at least a hurricane has the common courtesy to leave.

This endless storm/front/low/sky-beast Septoct has rained (and rained a lot) for a couple weeks. North winds for that long too.

So here we are. Water levels have lowered a few inches overnight (down almost a foot from yesterday afternoon’s brief peek). Now about 3.5 feet.

The Pamlico Sound marine forecast has north winds 20-25 mph today and tonight. That’s lower than yesterday, but likely will mean water levels going down slowwwlyyy today. That said, winds are calm in Oriental at this writing – which could/should mean lowering levels. Winds are forecast lower mid week, water levels will go lower too.

But there is really good news – the forecast for Friday is southwest winds 10-15. Then Saturday west winds. That would make any remaining high waters finally go away.

Monday October 5, 2015

11:02p The Sheriff’s Office reports that the NC National Guard was called in earlier today to help get emergency medical care to someone with breathing difficulties in the Fork Point Road area. The roads were otherwise impassable, but the Guard got in and then brought the patient out to a waiting EMS ambulance. in nearby Whortonsville, a woman’s home flooded. The Sheriff’s office says it safely brought her to the evacuation shelter at Pamlico Community College.

9:48p Water levels moved down nicely in the last hour, now 3.77.

6:47p The official weather gauge (at the Lou Mac Park Pier) shows levels static – down a fraction of an inch. The unofficial TownDock basement gauge (downtown by the Duck Pond) is down an inch.

The NOAA Coastal Flood Warning has been extended until 5am Tuesday.

6:10p Repeating two key messages from Pamlico County:

1. Pamlico County Schools are closed for Tuesday, October 6, 2015.

2. Pamlico County has declared a State Of Emergency due to high water levels. Pamlico County Emergency Management will be opening the hurricane shelter located at Pamlico Community College on NC 306 for all individuals wishing to evacuate their homes due to storm flooding. The shelter will open at 6pm today.

5:49p Water levels static, down to the hundredth of an inch. 4.39 feet.

The storm has been with us since last month – so it has been named Storm Septoct. Septoct has a certain (deserved) evil air about it. More photos are being added to the Septoct October Flood Collection. Your photo can be a part of the collection. Email news@towndock.net.

5:04p OK Bunky, just imagine. You’re down below in your manly Nav Station. Your personalized coffee cup near your ready sextant.

With salty reverence, you stoically listen to NOAA Weather Radio:

Your actual nav station. We won’t tell:

4:52p It has snuck up almost another inch. 4.39 feet. We’ll call it 4 foot 4.

4:21p Mr. Radar shows that the giant blotch of moisture is north of us and moving away.

4:10p TownDock Senior Management went for a canoe ride, as standard motor vehicular transit is non-operational in the downtown Duck Pond district. As you’ve seen, water levels up a couple more inches. Will it go up higher? It could, a bit. But we still feel we are near peak levels. Since midnight, it has been up and down in a range of only about half a foot.

More photos are being added to the October Flood Photo Festarama. Got a high water photo just bursting with wet potential? Email news@towndock.net.

4:08p School’s Out. From the county:

Pamlico County Schools are closed for Tuesday, October 6, 2015.

1:55p Water levels static – 4.11 ft. It really does feel like this is at or very near peak levels. It could have been worse – wind levels have been lower than forecast, and today’s rainfall modest (now 1.1 inches).

It was windy overnight locally though. The TownDock.net Oriental Weather Station registered 36 mph at 4:30a.

1:40p The TownDock photo dept has started putting together photos from the storm. This artcile will be growing through the afternoon as more photos are added.

12:50p Water levels staying about the same on the official gauge – 4.1 ft.

Pamlico County has declared a State Of Emergency due to high water levels. The Emergency Shelter @ PCC was open from 7p last night until 9a this morning. The county says it will be open again tonight:

Pamlico County Emergency Management will be opening the hurricane shelter located at Pamlico Community College on NC 306 for all individuals wishing to evacuate their homes due to storm flooding. The shelter will open at 6pm today.

12:33p Wally Umbach says it’s too wet to sing. The Pamlico Chorale rehearsal for tonight is cancelled.

12:21p Pamlico County says no courthouse today:

The Pamlico County Courthouse is closing today October 5, 2015 due to inclement weather and flooding in the surrounding areas.

12:16p Water levels have been going up and down in about a 3-4 inch range since midnight. The “unofficial” TownDock basement gauge down a couple inches in the last half hour. This narrow range up & down may indicate a near peak. Pamlico Sound winds remain high & from the northeast, but the forecast update is slightly more favorable – 25-30 winds instead of 25-35. Less NE wind helps. We have a Coastal Flood warning until 8p tonight. Tuesday winds will be a bit lighter on the Sound.

11:47a Water levels definitely up in the last hour. We’ve seen a few inches more by eye here in “downtown” Oriental. The official gauge agrees – now 4.14. Since midnight, 8/10” of rain.

11:42a In days of old hardy Postmen had this creed:
Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

We have a 2015 storm equivalent. Jennifer Smart, hard working Physical Therapist at The Village Club, would not let closed roads on the route to work (Florence to Oriental) stand in the way. Here she is this morning carrying a bicycle through knee deep water:

(Tim Balfour photo)

11:33a It’s too wet for Gov’t Work. From Pamlico County:

The Pamlico County Board of Commissioners Meeting for October 5, 2015 has been cancelled due to inclement weather.

11:01a Report from Michelle Noevere (“Housebound in the Village of Florence”):

Florence/Whortonsville residents are stuck. Whortonsville road at Day’s Corner is flooded as far as the eye can see and water across Florence Road is up to the door of a Jeep Commander about 4-5 miles down from 55.

10:59a Deb Khouri reports from Dolphin Point:

The flooded area on White Farm Road just before the Falcon Drive turn is not rainwater. It is floodwater from Pierce Creek and Whittaker Creek. At this time we are an island. Vehicles attempting to go though will be in brackish water.

10:56a Kershaw Road is closed about 1/4 mile west of Teaches Cove Rd. The sign leaves no doubt:

(Gary Hughes photo)

10:51a And levels edge back down… now 3.98 feet.

9:49a Water levels back on the rise. Now 4.06 feet.

9:20a Reports say Highway 55 is clear this morning from Oriental to Bayboro. 55 can flood near Paul’s Produce & Pickers, but that seems to come more from heavy rain than rising water. Of course heavy rain is on tap for later today…

You can watch the rain coming our way on weather radar.

8:48a Water levels now at 4.03 feet. High north winds (25-35 mph) on the Pamlico Sound today could move that number higher.

The part of this that is challenging to predict about Storm Septoct is what happens tonight & tomorrow. Winds will be lower, but still 20-25 mph north winds are forecast for tonight through Tuesday night. Will those winds simply hold water levels static, or will levels slowly come down?

8:41a Dave Mauney reports that Kershaw Rd is closed about a 1/4 mile west of Teaches Cove Rd.

7:47a Water levels peaked overnight at 4.08 feet. They have gone down just a bit this morning, now at 3.98 feet.

7:35a Since this storm/system/front/low doesn’t have a name – lets give it one. It started last month – now a two month storm – introducing Storm Septoct.

That big wall of moisture that soaked South Carolina is slowly drifting north. Today will be wet.

NOAA Coastal Flood Warning today until 8p. It will be flooded here long after that. Chance of rain today 100% – later it is forecast to be coming down hard.

6:10a White Farm Road may not be a driving option. Sandy Johnson-Clark writes in (this sent just after midnight):

Wanted to let you know White Farm Road is impassable. I drove through it tonight coming home from the village, stupid me. It was at least 10-12 inches or more of the river flowing. Couldn’t even see the road, lines on it, nothing.
It is probably a few inches higher now. The next person might not make it through. See example below.

5:45a From the “Is My Car Just Like A Boat?” Dept. This just in from The Pamlico County Sheriff’s Office:
The Pamlico County Sheriff’s Office and Pamlico County Emergency Management responded to a report of a vehicle in a canal on Bay City Road near the bridge. One individual was rescued from the water after escaping from the sinking car. The driver was not injured. The driver hit an area of tidal flooding and lost control of the vehicle and came to rest in an adjacent canal. sunk car (Sherrif’s Office photo)

Sunday October 4, 2015

6:24p Pamlico County has declared a State Of Emergency due to high water levels. From the Sheriff’s Office:

Pamlico County Emergency Management will be opening the hurricane shelter located at Pamlico Community College on NC 306 for all individuals wishing to evacuate their homes due to storm flooding. The shelter will open at 7pm today and remain open until residents can return to their homes.

Also Kershaw Loop road off of Kershaw road has been closed due to a sink hole. Goose Creek Loop road in Arapahoe has also been closed at Neuse Road due to a wash out. Other areas of Pamlico County, specifically the Hobucken and Lowland areas, are experiencing road closures due to tidal overwash of 6 to 15 inches of water. Other low lying areas can expect the same through tomorrow.

6:10p No hurricane, but this is a wild ride. Water levels are up some 10 inches since early this morning. Will it go another foot? Here is what we know: The Pamlico Sound is forecast to have 25-25 knot gale force winds tonight & Monday. That will push more water our way. It is going to go up.

This won’t be going away soon. Strong north winds, not gale force, but still 25mph are forecast through Tuesday night on Pamlico Sound.

To make you feel better about our windy & wet plight, right now Bermuda is getting Hurricane Joaquin.

And now for the sunny part of your future. Yes, actually sunny. Wednesday is forecast for sunshine, dry and 75.

2:32p The Oriental Water Level Gauge keeps us in the know – providing online data of current water levels.

Where is the gauge? It measures the Neuse from the pier at Lou Mac Park. The gauge was installed by the state in 2013 – this story tells more.

2:18p For wall to wall weather info, TownDock.net streams NOAA Weather Radio (the same signal you hear locally on a Marine VHF):

2:03p Levels keep rising, now at 3 1/4 ft about normal – we are up about 6” from earlier this morning. Hodges is totally impassable. Rather than a salt water bath, one would be launching their Lexus.

Great photo op – so call before you attempt it, Bunky.

How much higher is the question. With 25-35 knot winds on the Pamlico Sound tonight & Monday, the water will continue to rise. Some readers have written in with a version of the following:
If my house flooded in Hurricane Isabel & Irene, will it flood now?

Here is some info. This isn’t a hurricane. It is a front that is causing a lot of wind from the north, which causes rising waters in our area. A heavy dose of rain on top. Hurricane Isabel had a 9 ft surge. Irene even higher, 9 1/2 feet. We are at 3 1/4 feet right now. A 6 ft difference. We are not going to get 6 more feet of surge tomorrow, or anything close to that. We are going to get more water though.

NOAA has extensive surge modeling for hurricanes, but not so much info for this situation. What we do know:

  • More than now
  • Not anything near hurricane levels

Keep an eye on the Oriental Water Level Gauge

7:51a Water levels high this morning in Oriental – at 2.70 above normal now. It is going to get worse before it gets better. There is a Coastal Flood Warning In Effect Until Monday @ 8p. Water levels may rise some today due to northeast winds, but Monday will be the trouble day. The Pamlico Sound forecast has a Gale Warning, 20 knot northeast winds today. But tonight and Monday, look out for 25-35 knot winds. That is going to push more water down our way, and it will have no where to go but up.

How high? This isn’t a hurricane like situation, but planning for the possibility of at least another foot may be wise. Monday will have the return of monsoon rain. The water levels are mostly a wind driven event, but pouring rain on top doesn’t help.

Highway 55 is clear this morning (there were reports yesterday of a few high water areas – they were apparently caused just by rain).

Later today Bermuda will get visited by Hurricane Joaquin. Joaquin has weakened some, now 115 mph winds.

No Minnesott Beach / Cherry Branch Ferry again today – high water is the reason. Based on the current wind forecast, the ferry may be out of service at least through mid week.

7:36a You think we’re wet – check out what is dumping on South Carolina: southeast weather radar

Saturday October 3, 2015

3:41p We are fortunate that Joaquin is not headed our way. The storm is now Category 4 – 155 mph. It is forecast to pass closely by Bermuda. It will weaken somewhat before getting there Sunday night, but Joaquin is predicted to still have 130 mph peak winds. Yikes.

ferry logo1:52p Our weather’s dealing us another challenge — the Neuse River ferry’s not running. You now have to go the long way around to travel to and from Beaufort and Havelock.

The high water is keeping the ferries from tucking under the ramp. For how long? Mike Austin at the Cherry Branch side answered in terms of wind direction. We’ll have to wait til the wind clocks around, he says and comes out of the west to push all that water back in to the Sound. Austin says “it could be days,” before the Minnesott-Cherry Branch ferrries run again.

7:42a Water levels are high (just over 2 feet) this morning. Hodges Street flooded – water high enough that it is over the sidewalk by the harbor. The Bean is open though – salute to barista Amron. High boots help if you make a Bean visit. Reports of high water everywhere – water is over Highway 55 out by Paul’s Produce.

The marine forecast shows 15-20 east winds today, then 15-20 northeast tonight & Sunday. With those winds, levels won’t be going down, and may trend up a bit.

hurricane joaquinHurricane Juaquin is finally leaving the battered Bahamas, now heading north. 125 mph winds. The forecast track – even farther offshore. Bermuda is bracing for a visit.

Town is relatively calm this morning. It wasn’t two days ago as folks were preparing for a storm.

Rainfall totals: 6.79 inches yesterday. Rain This Month (it is only Oct 3): 7.17 inches.

Enjoy some blue skies today. The sound of it not raining is sweet.

Friday October 2, 2015

8:12p The average rainfall for the entire month of October here – 4.1 inches. Rainfall so far today – 5.2 inches. Rainfall this month (it is Oct 2): 5.6 inches. ¡Ay, caramba!

5:04p The 5p update – Hurricane Joaquin’s track is now wayyyyyyy offshore. Even closer to Bermuda. Not forecast to come near the NC coast at all.

Ferry service to and from Ocracoke resumes its regular schedule Saturday.

2:59p While Hurricane Joaquin’s forecast track now keeps it offshore, that wasn’t the forecast earlier this week at all. It looked like we were in for a hurricane. TownDock.net was about town as people prepared for a storm.

11:10a The change in the 11a Hurricane Joaquin update? Further offshore. Closer to Bermuda.

Hurricane Joaquin links:
Hurricane Joaquin Tracking Chart
Hurricane Joaquin Forecaster’s Discussion & Computer Models
Hurricane Joaquin Public Advisory

Calm in the village. OK, a wet calm. Over 3 inches of rain since midnight.

Oriental resident Tom Dixon passed away Wednesday. More about Tom’s life here.

We can now report on things other than just a hurricane. Like a stop sign – that isn’t there. On the corner of Mildred & 1st – heading towards the river – the stop sign is gone. Just be aware if you are driving on 1st, some drivers may not stop as you expect.
stop sign map

8:25a No hurricane visit now expected – Joaquin forecast to stay offshore. But from a rain standpoint – there may as well be a hurricane. Since midnight 2 1/4 inches of rain, and it keeps coming.

The northeast & east winds will keep water levels high the next few days. It is just under 2 feet at this writing. The rain doesn’t help, but water levels are mostly wind driven. Hodges Street not passable this morning (unless you like giving your vehicle a salt water bath).

This weekend, the rainy & feared stormy forecast cancelled the Dragonboat Octoberfest fundraiser, the ODC Solo Race, and the Library Book Sale. Your Saturday social calendar has been liberated.

6:01a We awake to a very different view of the next few days. Hurricane Joaquin has begun the turn north, and the NHC projected track has trended farther and farther offshore. Far enough that we wouldn’t feel even tropical storm winds. Far enough that we wouldn’t feel a thing.

Meanwhile, The Bahamas have no such good news, now getting battered by 135 mph winds. As the track trends east, a Tropical Storm or Hurricane Watch could be required for Bermuda later today. We are looking fine, and NHC is no longer adding warnings that the track could return to a path that threatens the NC coast.

But – it is raining. A lot. Almost 2 inches since midnight. And it is going to keep raining today, and likely through Monday.

Thursday October 1, 2015

4:56p Good stuff from the 5p (released a few minutes early) Forecasters Discussion:

A strong majority of the forecast models are now in agreement on a track farther away from the United States east coast. We are becoming optimistic that the Carolinas and the mid-Atlantic states
will avoid the direct effects from Joaquin. However, we cannot yet completely rule out direct impacts along on the east coast, and residents there should continue to follow the progress of Joaquin over the next couple of days.

Even if Joaquin moves out to sea, strong onshore winds associated with a frontal system will create minor to moderate coastal flooding along the coasts of the mid-Atlantic and northeastern states through the weekend. In addition, very heavy rains, not associated with Joaquin, are expected to produce flooding over portions of the Atlantic coastal states.

If this holds, we may hardly feel wind from Joaquin at all (similar to Hurricane Earl a few years ago). But we still have a Category 4 storm, 130 mph winds, at this moment. It is great news, but there still remains room for much change. Joaquin is still moving south, expected to begin the turn north in the next 12 hours.
Hurricane Joaquin links:
Hurricane Joaquin Tracking Chart
Hurricane Joaquin Forecaster’s Discussion & Computer Models
Hurricane Joaquin Public Advisory

4:37p We won’t have the official new NHC forecast track for about 20 minutes, but based on more computer model data coming in… we may like the new track. Everything seems to indicate the projected track moving even farther offshore. Still a serious concern – but farther away. Of course, NHC has to agree with that interpretation.

ferry logo4:24p The Ocracoke / Cedar Island Ferry is now operating under rules for the evacuation of Ocracoke. These rules include:
• No tolls on Pamlico Sound routes
• Reservations cancelled on Pamlico Sound routes
• No visitors allowed on ferries headed to Ocracoke
Only residents, property owners and vendors now allowed on Ocracoke-bound ferries.

1:59p JOAQUIN NOW A EXTREMELY DANGEROUS CATEGORY 4 HURRICANE. Winds 130 mph / 115 knots. The Bahamas are getting hurricane force winds & surge. Still, Hurricane Joaquin is expected to weaken to a Category 1 storm by the time it reaches our latitude. But as Irene and Isabel taught us, a Category 1 hurricane can be plenty of trouble.

The forecast track is unchanged from earlier projections today… keeping Joaquin enough offshore that we would would not get hurricane force winds. We still would expect tropical storm level winds, surge and flooding. We are unusually vulnerable, after 11.5 inches of rain in September and water levels already high.

You’ve heard it before – but it remains true. The projected track of Hurricane Joaquin remains uncertain. The unusual nature of the track (the “billiard ball bounce” the storm is forecast to take at the Bahamas later today) will keep us glued more than usual to hurricane track updates. Next update @ 5p.

11:10a Today, the trend is our friend. Hurricane Joaquin’s track has moved farther offshore. The storm is also slowing in its progress – not getting to our latitude until late Sunday / early Monday. NOTE – This track remains uncertain. Joaquin’s odd bounce before it heads north makes this a difficult forecast. NHC states: Confidence remains very low in the eventual track of Joaquin and any potential impacts for the United States, and further adjustments to the NHC track may be needed later today.

The probability of flying brats has diminished. The Oriental Dragon Boat Club has cancelled its Octoberfest planned for Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile, Saturday’s ODC Solo/Double Handed race has been scrubbed, too. (Oriental’s market in age shares may bottom out at this news…)

Still on – for this afternoon – the Oriental Town Board’s Agenda meeting. More details, here.

Tom Dixon, who drove the Shriners’ gator cart in many a parade, died yesterday. More details coming…

And we continue to get letters… on herbiciding roadsides, on Robert Allen Miller, and on the Camp Creek proposal….

10:50a Some new computer model data suggests the track will move farther offshore. We wait impatiently (and optimistically) for the official 11a NHC update.

10:04a A note from Town Hall:

town hall signKeep aware that the track is the CENTER track, and currently, tropical storm force winds extend 140 miles from the center. We’re almost ready – chainsaws are being serviced, everything gassed up, etc. Our concern is wind. With all this rain, the tree roots don’t have a thing to hold onto – the ground is like butter. We encourage folks to gas up, get cash, fill medications, do the things that require electricity now – laundry, stocking up, moving things to higher ground. Tie down propane cylinders, etc- move anything than can become airborne.

8:41a The 8a update remained basically consistent with the 5a – keeping Joaquin a bit offshore. The forecast track could still change a lot today – in either direction. The various computer models show a wide range of outcomes. From the Forecaster’s Discussion:

Confidence in the details of the forecast after 72 hours remains low, as there have been some large changes in the model guidance overnight. The range of possible outcomes is still large, and the possibility of a hurricane landfall in the Carolinas still cannot be ruled out. Because landfall, if it occurs, is still more than three days away, it’s too early to talk about specific wind, rain, or surge impacts from Joaquin in the United States. Regardless of Joaquin’s track, strong onshore winds will create minor to moderate coastal
flooding along the coasts of the mid-Atlantic and northeastern states through the weekend.

6:35a How about some non-hurricane news? The Cartwright House B&B in Oriental reopened earlier this year after a major refurb. unc tv It’s beautiful. Innkeepers Johnny & Margaret have had many happy visitors. One of the visitors liked it so much they raved about it to UNC TV. UNC TV came to visit. Tonight @ 9p on UNC TV – the Cartwright House is part of the North Carolina Weekend program. Tune in.

5:20a Happy October. Maybe this isn’t the perfect way to start a new month, but this too shall pass. Somehow, after a hurricane and September’s semi-monsoons, a clear dry autumn future must await us. Meanwhile…

Before we talk storms, lets talk rain. It’s going to rain today. And tomorrow. We heard what you just said. Agreed.

storm joaquin modelsThe many computer models (at right) show the continued uncertainty of Joaquin’s forecast track.

Hurricane Joaquin’s forecast track could change a lot today. After yesterday’s track that had Ocracoke (just 40 miles away from Oriental) getting a direct landfall, this morning’s however slight movement east is most welcome. If the storm gets more offshore the Pamlico Sound will get tropical storm level winds (instead of hurricane force). The surge potential is really reduced. Joaquin is forecast to be a fast moving storm. That’s good. The quicker it gets through, the less surge can build.

Still, all plans locally should be to plan for a hurricane.

If you need a reminder of what a hurricane visit can be like – here are links to 2011 articles – before, during and after Hurricane Irene.

Wednesday September 30, 2015

5:26p On Saturday August 27 2011 Hurricane Irene visited Oriental. We had a 9.5 ft surge. Ahead of another potential hurricane visit, a 2011 article created from TownDock reader input. It just might be helpful:

5:09p The 5p update on Hurricane Joaquin is alarming, bringing the track west to a landfall on the Outer Banks. NOAA / NHC stress that the forecast of this storm remains uncertain, and that landfall could vary from the NC coast to Boston. But right now, their projections are targeting our coast, landfall Sunday. This forecast track may change often in coming days, but the message is clear. We need to prepare for a hurricane.

Hurricane Joaquin links:
Hurricane Joaquin Tracking Chart
Hurricane Joaquin Forecaster’s Discussion & Computer Models
Hurricane Joaquin Public Advisory

From the 5p Forecaster’s Discussion:

Because landfall, if it occurs, is still more than three days away, it is too early to talk about specific wind, rain, or surge impacts from Joaquin in the United States. Even if Joaquin stays well out to sea, strong onshore winds will create minor to moderate coastal flooding along the coasts of the mid-Atlantic and northeastern states through the weekend.

4:03p Water levels got down to about 1 foot above normal earlier today, and now they are creeping back up (1.2 feet at 3:25p). They will be rising again in coming days. It initially is nothing to do with Hurricane Joaquin – it’s simply the north and east winds that will push water our way.

Of course, depending on the ultimate track, Joaquin could have significant surge added on top of that. Starting with high water levels and soaked ground has us vulnerable. Here’s hoping that Joaquin’s track can trend east and offshore.

The track is now updated by NHC every 3 hours – and that data & imagery automatically appears on TownDock.net.

11:08a More of the models now agreeing with NHC’s forecast – putting the landfall at DE / NJ instead of NC. Phew… for the moment.

9:14a The Hurricane Joaquin computer models are not good news this morning. Usually, the NHC forecast track seems “in the middle” of the many models. This morning, it looks like an outlier. The many models indicate an NC coast landing, while the official NHC forecast track has it passing offshore with a landing to our north.

8:18a Joaquin has been upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane. And Hurricane Joaquin is now expected to further strengthen to a Category 2 storm in 48 hours. FYI, Category 1: Winds range from 74 to 95 mph. Category 2: Winds range from 96 to 110 mph.

This track still has a lot of variables. Watching Joaquin’s approach is going to be a crazy ride.

Hurricane Joaquin links:
Hurricane Joaquin Tracking Chart
Hurricane Joaquin Forecaster’s Discussion & Computer Models
Hurricane Joaquin Public Advisory

5:52a As you can see above, Joaquin’s (waa-keen) forecast track is back edging towards us. But NOAA NHC still make it clear the unknowns in this forecast. From the 5a Forecaster’s Discussion:

Confidence in the details of the track forecast late in the period remains very low, since the environmental steering currents are complex and not being handled in a consistent manner by the models. Given that a wide range of outcomes is possible, it is too soon to say what impacts, if any, Joaquin will have on the United States.

So, here is the good news. Saturday looks clear of any tropical storm stuff. You can enter the Neuse River Solo. OK, Saturday still looks wet. But you’re a tough solo sailor.

50% chance of rain today. And then more wet Thursday. And Friday. Hey, you read the forecast. Looking for positives is challenging. We’ll try. OK Bunky, the moisture is good for your skin.

Water levels slowly coming down… now just about a foot above normal.

Tuesday September 29, 2015

5:12p TownDock.net just spoke with Pamlico County Sheriff Chris Davis. Davis states that while Robert Miller is able to speak, he remains in critical condition. The SBI is doing interviews around the state this week, working to piece together information. Davis asks anyone with information on the shooting of Robert Miller to contact the Pamlico County Sheriff’s Office at 252-745-3101.

Robert Miller was shot at an Oriental Marina, Clancys, early on the morning of Sept 19. Sheriff Davis states he believes this was a targeted shooting, not a random act.

Related links:
A Friend Of Robert Miller Writes
Audio from the 911 call Sept 19:

trop depression 115:05p Good news & bad news. The bad news – Joaquin is expected to get stronger than initially thought. Almost hurricane strength – 70 mph winds. But there is good news too. The forecast track has trended farther east – and way away from us. A front is moving offshore later this week, and that front is expected to keep Joaquin out at sea.

NOAA is still stressing the uncertainty of the forecast track… but the front moving offshore isn’t uncertain. That front is our friend.

Tropical Storm Joaquin links:
Tropical Storm Joaquin Tracking Chart
Tropical Storm Joaquin Forecaster’s Discussion & Computer Models
Tropical Storm Joaquin Public Advisory

10:56a Good news – the forecast track for Joaquin has trended further east (and away). Joaquin is also forecast to be slower in making its way north – now looking more like a Sunday arrival rather than Friday night/Saturday.

But. NOAA NHC adds this:

It should be repeated that the confidence in the track forecast is very low.
Joaquin is a tough one to call.

7:51a Alert: The sun is out. Blue skies actually visible. There may be a 50% chance of rain today, but it looks a lot better than Monday.

This weekend – there is a race planned. The Neuse River Solo. That’s the race where the crew gets along. Well, mostly. There now is a Double-Handed Race too. The deal is this: to be in that one, the combined ages of the participants have to add up to 150 or more. Have crafty octegenarians created a bidding war? If you’re 40 you’ll need a 110 year old crew member. 40 year old sailors should probably focus on the solo option. Details on how to take part here.

OK, you’re thinking – haven’t they planned that race the same day Joaquin could arrive? Well… yes. But ODC (the race organizers) are saying if needed the race will move to Sunday.

7:35a Water levels have creeped down – now at 1.5 feet.

With a wind shift to the southeast expected today, water levels could be back to normal by tonight. We need that with a potential tropical storm visit coming Saturday.

Joaquin is a concern. The National Hurricane Center is saying it as elegantly as possible, but basically the forecast track & storm strength is really unclear right now. It could take til Thursday to really have a good grasp of where Joaquin is ultimately headed.

Tropical Storm Joaquin links:
Tropical Storm Joaquin Tracking Chart
Tropical Storm Joaquin Forecaster’s Discussion & Computer Models
Tropical Storm Joaquin Public Advisory

Monday September 28, 2015

11:01p Tropical Storm Joaquin (pronounced waa-keen) has been declared. The forecast track trending a few degrees farther west… and closer to our shores. This would be a late Friday / early Saturday visit if the forecast schedule is right. Not hurricane strength, but a strong tropical storm with 60 mph winds. Whether we see those winds will depend on the ultimate track.

The forecast track is unusually uncertain for a storm this near – but the trend is getting the storm closer. From the 11p Forecaster’s Discussion:

There is considerable spread in the models, mainly due to the timing of when and how fast the storm makes the northward turn, due to differences in the evolution of the trough. In general, the guidance envelope has shifted southward for the first couple of days and then westward after that time. The official track forecast has been adjusted accordingly, but additional southward and westward adjustment may be needed in subsequent advisories.

Tropical Storm Joaquin Tracking Chart
Tropical Storm Joaquin Forecaster’s Discussion & Computer Models
Tropical Storm Joaquin Public Advisory

5:02p Tropical Depression Eleven didn’t get upgraded to tropical storm… yet. It likely will by tomorrow.

The National Hurricane Center did include this attention grabbing copy in the 5p Forecaster’s Discussion:

Given the large uncertainty in the track forecast, there is also uncertainty as to what kind of environment the cyclone will encounter during the forecast period, which also leads to low confidence in the official intensity forecast.

trop depression 11Regarding that “uncertainty in the track forecast” – the projected track has shifted west. Closer to us.

At this writing we have had 2.5 inches of rain today… almost 11 inches for this month of September. The historical average total rainfall for this month – about 5 1/2 inches. That’s right, we’ve had about half the monthly average just today.

And more rain tonight.

2:01p More rain. 1.5 inches so far today, on top of the wet we already had. It’s day four of Semi Tropical Storm Pamlico. This is tropically depressing.

ark12:32p More rain (a half inch in just the last hour). TownDock staff pondering alternative approaches to dealing with it.

11:02a Tropical Depression Eleven is expected to be upgraded to Storm Joaquin (waa – keen) later today. Joaquin should stay offshore and away. We’re wet enough already.

The folks at Bow To Stern Boating are tough. Open Sailing tonight is still on. Jim Edwards says as long as it isn’t raining at 5p they will still go out sailing.

8:42a Tropical Depression Ida is gone. Kaput. Make way for newly formed Tropical Depression Eleven. Eleven is southwest of Bermuda, but fortunately has a forecast track heading straight north. The system should stay offshore and away.

Eleven may strengthen a bit to a tropical storm – in which case it will be Tropical Storm Joaquin. Joaquin is pronounced “waa-keen”.

It is wet. Water levels high. And a tropical depression off our coast. Maybe you need the full sitting at your nav station anxiety experience. How about some NOAA Weather Radio?

Coffee and an old sailing magazine adds to the experience.

8:31a See that moon last night? You had to peek through the clouds here… but broken clouds did allow a view.

High water levels continue… but they are creeping slowly down. Expect them to go down a bit today, and lots more Tuesday as winds are lighter. By Wednesday… it could be back to normal.

Please do understand the limitations of the word “normal” in Oriental.

The forecast a few days ago promised dry by Tuesday. Turns out we were participating in a big NOAA meteorology trick. How about dry-errrr? 50% chance of rain today, 30% Tuesday. We might evaporate a bit.

The weekend does hold hope for a some sun & dry.

Sunday September 27, 2015

6:01p The skies and air have cleared more quickly than forecast. We may just see that eclipse tonight. Lighter winds too. The levels have dropped, but are still just under 2 ft.

2:42p Will we be able to see the lunar eclipse / aka Blood Moon tonight? Maybe, but the forecast isn’t ideal. Cloudy, drizzle tonight.

The eclipse will begin at 9:07p as the the earth’s shadow begins to move across the moon. At 10:11p, the entire moon is in earth’s shadow. That is when it should appear red – the “Blood Moon.” It remains in the shadow until 11:23p. The eclipse ends at 12:27a.

NASA explains it better:

10:35a Our town & county gets its share of controversy.

In to the mix we must add the question of a certain tractor’s ancestry.

7:40a Culinary caffeinated catastrophes. The Bean isn’t open. Just because you need a boat to get there? Wimps.

OK. Hodges may look a bit more like a river than a street.

Water levels currently @ 2.5 feet above normal, down from just over 3 feet yesterday.

The Neuse Marine Forecast has winds clocking back to northeast 20-25 knots today. If that wind forecast holds, water levels today probably won’t get much worse – or better. Relief is on the way… Monday 10-15 knots, and Tuesday’s 5-10 knot forecast should get water levels much closer to normal.

It was breezy overnight (and more rain) – 30mph clocked just after midnight.

Rainy. Drizzly. Foggy. This may help:

TownDock Legal informs us this is not to be used for navigational purposes

So, you’re wondering. When will the sun come back? When will we have a sunny day?

Not today. Monday afternoon partly sunny skies expected. Yes, that condition we try to remember – where the sun shines through breaks in the clouds, and it isn’t raining. Tuesday partly sunny again.

Then Wednesday more %$#@ rain. It just isn’t fair.

Saturday September 26, 2015

4:55p Hodges Street is flooooodedddd. Still, there are cars and trucks driving through (it appears not everyone understands that salt water / rust thing).

Almost three feet above normal levels. With tonight’s Neuse forecast for east 20-25 mph winds, it could even go a bit higher.

At Garland Fulcher Seafood Market, there was about a half inch of water on top of the concrete floor near closing time. It provided a genuine seafood aura (that’s a marketing term, Bunky) as TownDock crew picked up dinner.

If you wade a bit on Hodges Street you’ll spot the occasional small fish swimming by. Not ready for wading? The Provision Company carries renowned Pamlico Nikes. They are open Sunday 10a – 4p for your wading boot styling needs.

7:44a The brave high water crew at The Bean has the place open. High boots help.

7:23a Day two of Semi Tropical Storm Pamlico. Just a tiny amount of rain overnight – but a whole lot of wind. The Oriental Weather Station has recorded a peak wind of 33mph early today, and this morning 20-25 knot winds out on the river are pushing levels up. With a 2 1/2 foot surge currently, Hodges Street is totally flooded.

More rain today & tomorrow expected.

The marine forecast tells us that these winds should continue today & tonight at 20-25 mph. Winds a bit lower Sunday, but not really diminishing until Sunday night / Monday.