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It's Monday September 25, 2017 Dock Quote: “By all these...


Upcoming Events

Oriental Cup Regatta - 2017:

29th Oriental Cup Regatta returns to Oriental. The Story

Town Board Meeting September 2017:

Golf carts on state roads, rabies and leash law, Officer Blayney nabs turtle. The Story

Piggly Wiggly Sept 2017 Update:

Shocking Lineage Revealed. The Story

2nd Marine Air Wing Band at Lou Mac Park:

Marine Band returns to Oriental for performance in the park. The Story

Greens Creek Challenge 2017:

Sailing in pursuit of medals and a rubber chicken. The Story

North Carolina's First School Bus:

Drawing Out 1917. Drawing The Town

New Cherry Branch Ferry Terminal:

Shiny new building. Bathrooms smell better. The Story

Miss August 2017 - Scout:

Adventurer, survivor, and loyal companion. Pet Of The Month

Eclipse Watching 2017:

Dark(er) skies and DIY viewing devices. The Story

Watermelon Sunday on the Bonds' Lawn:

48 years of watermelon for everyone. The Story

Town Board Meeting August 2017:

Officer Sworn in, Permits Revoked, Alcohol Sales on Sunday. The Story

Letters: More Comments on Fulcher Point Boatyard:

The town can do something. Like the paint.. Letters To The Editor

Packed Meeting Hears Unhappy Public:

Most Oppose, Some For Fulcher Trawler Paint Yard. The Story

The Piggly Wiggly Celebrates First Year in Oriental:

Party At The Piglet. The Story

This Little Piggy Went To Market:

The Piglet's 1st Birthday. Drawing The Town

Rooflessness Continued:

Chris Fulcher's Latest Plan: No Roof For Harbor Building. The Story

Comment On Fulcher Sandblast/Paint Yard, Take 2:

CAMA Official: Public "Shortchanged" By Lack of Notice. The Story

Mister July 2017 - Doc:

Super greeter and employee of the year. Pet Of The Month

Fulcher's Plans Dominate Planning Meeting:

An Open Roof, Dark Skies and Water @ July's Meeting. The Story

Letter: Fulcher Point Roof Open For Discussion:

Planning Chair Urges Public To Attend Meetings. Letters To The Editor

Author Bites Oriental Man in Fridge-Moving Dispute:

Knife fails to move Picker's purchased fridge. The Story

Town Board Meeting July 2017:

Flooding Study, Surplus Funds, New Hours At Town Hall. The Story

Croaker Festival 2017:

37th Annual Croakerfest. The Story

Visiting Trawler Sports Bent Outrigger:

Collison With Morehead City Bridge Adds A Bend. The Story

Letters: Thank You to the Volunteers of Pamlico County:

A Man With A Grill Tips His Hat. Letters To The Editor

Police Chief Dwaine Moore Resigns:

Formal Resignation Submitted June 21. The Story

Hope Regatta and Gala 2017:

Combining two popular events benefits local charity. The Story

Mister June 2017 - Radar:

Lights, Camera, Treats. Pet Of The Month

June Town Board Meeting:

Microbrewery, Budget, and Police Hire. The Story

Dragon's Breath Regatta 2017:

17 Vessels Compete. The Story

That reliable sun appears again. Sunrise from the bridge Saturday morning.

Sunday September 24, 2017

8:24p Ocracoke is being evacuated (of visitors) as Hurricane Maria approaches. From NCDOT:

As Hurricane Maria approaches the North Carolina coast, the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division is assisting with the evacuation of Ocracoke Island. Hyde County has issued a mandatory evacuation order for all island visitors beginning at 5am Monday, Sept. 25. Only residents, homeowners or vendors with an Ocracoke re-entry sticker on their vehicles will be allowed on ferries inbound to Ocracoke. “We encourage all Ocracoke visitors to leave as soon as possible Monday,” said Ferry Division Director Harold Thomas.” NCDOT expects ocean over wash to occur on NC Highway 12 with the approach of Hurricane Maria, and worsen as the storm nears the coast.

5:10p Maria’s track unchanged, still forecast to turn gradually northeast Tuesday and more sharply east-northeast Wednesday. A Tropical Storm Watch has been declared, including for the Pamlico Sound. From NOAA:

A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for the coast of North Carolina from Surf City northward to the North Carolina/Virginia border, including the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.
A Storm Surge Watch has been issued for the coast of North Carolina from Cape Lookout northward to Duck.

Considering what this potentially looked like a few days ago, this is a kind forecast. Peak winds locally difficult to discern from this forecast, but we will be on the outer bands of Maria. More than 40’s mph appears unlikely, and just in the 20’s may be all we see (if the forecast path continues.)

That said, Maria will be moving slowly. Winds at whatever level will be around for a while. We’re going to see some surge.

1:17p One of Oriental’s oldest citizens has passed away. Tom Smith died on Friday. He was born 93 years ago in Oriental and lived in town for most of his life. Tom served in the US Navy in WWII. He ran his family’s store at Hodges and Broad (in what was most recently The Steamer) and the movie house (now the Old Theater) For years afterward he repaired TV’s and appliances. He is survived by Anne Smith, his wife of 48 years, 4 daughters and daughter-in-law, 4 grandchildren and 5 great grand children. More on Tom’s life, here.

Visitation with family starts at 10a Monday at Oriental First Baptist Church with funeral service to follow at 11a at the church. (Service moved to church due to weather forecast..)

10:55a Hurricane Maria’s forecast track unchanged – kindly staying offshore. Maria is now 475 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, moving at 9 mph. That rate is expected to slow as Maria approaches. Max winds slightly reduced, now 105 mph, Category 2.

Maria is a big storm, as the NHC notes:

Since Maria is a large hurricane, the associated tropical-storm-force winds could reach a portion of the North Carolina coast by mid-week regardless of the exact forecast track.
Tropical storm conditions are possible Tuesday & Wednesday, but still no Tropical Storm watch/warning for the NC coast.

High water adaptation tool, locally known as Pamlico Nikes
6:55a Sunshine & mid 80s today. On the Neuse northeast winds 10-15 mph.

The northeast breeze over the Neuse & Pamlico Sound has pushed some water our way. Water levels a bit high this morning, now at 1.4 ft above normal.

6:38a We are fortunate this morning. The Hurricane Maria forecast track is showing Maria staying offshore. The track shows Maria turning northeast and then east-northeast away from land. The turn begins early Wednesday.

At 5a Maria was 530 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, with max winds of 110 mph.

Maria is large enough that it is still possible we could experience some tropical storm conditions Tuesday and Wednesday.

Saturday September 23, 2017

5:04p Hurricane Maria’s forecast track remains offshore, yet close enough that we may get some of the outer bands of the storm. Tropical Storm conditions are possible Tuesday & Wednesday.

On the positive side, Maria (now 115 mph) is forecast to diminish to 90 mph max winds in 3 days, 80 mph in 4 days. Those max winds are near the center of the storm, which is forecast to be well offshore. The farthest outer bands would not likely have more than minimal tropical storm force (35 mph or a bit more).

Maria is forecast to move slowly as she passes, perhaps just 4 to 5 mph. That means the northeast winds likely to be over the Pamlico Sound Tuesday & Wednesday will be blowing a longggg time. It means more time for wind tide & flooding to build. We’re not talking Hurricane Irene flooding, but more that the typical nor’easter is possible.

Maria’s forecast track is unlikely to change dramatically going forward, but an additional small change more westward could provide more tropical storm conditions locally. At this time tropical storm watches/warnings have not yet been declared for our area.

11:00a The official NHC forecast track for Maria has shifted further west, however just slightly. From the National Hurricane Center:

…the hurricane’s forward speed will decrease to 5 kt or less from day 2 (Monday) and beyond. The track guidance has continued to trend toward slower and farther westward solutions, and as we had foreshadowed in previous discussions, an additional westward adjustment to the new NHC track forecast was required on this cycle.
Maria’s forecast track has shifted closer to the U.S. east coast, and it is becoming increasingly likely that some direct impacts will occur along portions of the coast next week. Interests along the coast of the Carolinas and the Mid-Atlantic should monitor the progress of Maria, as tropical storm or hurricane watches may be needed for part of this area on Sunday.

Tropical storm conditions could be locally felt as early as Monday afternoon. This forecast still does not suggest we would get hurricane force conditions… we are just on the edge of the storm.

There are computer models (not the official NHC forecast) that put Maria much closer. Notably, the UKMET model has Maria’s eye just off Okracoke early Wednesday. It should also be noted that this model predicted Josie directly visiting us, which didn’t seem to occur. As the financial disclaimers say – past performance is no guarantee of future results.

7:17a The Atlantic has slightly altered plans for us this morning.

The projected path of Hurricane Maria has trended west, enough so that we could get the edge of the storm. And the National Hurricane Center is warning it could move further west:

The track guidance has shifted westward since the last advisory, with several of the global models now calling for Maria to come close enough to the U. S. east coast to cause direct impacts before the system recurves into the westerlies in 5 days. The latter part of the forecast track is also shifted to the west, but it lies to the east of the consensus models and the center of the guidance envelope. If the current model trends continue, additional westward adjustments to the track forecast will be necessary later today.

The edge of the storm would be tropical storm force, not hurricane.

If we get some of Hurricane Maria, the storm would be with us late Tuesday and much of Wednesday. Max winds are currently at 120 mph, Category 3. Maria is expected to lose power on her trek north. Max winds Wednesday forecast to be 80 mph, Category 1.

Next forecast update at 11a… it could be significant.

Meanwhile, storm Jose is no more, and Tropical Storm Lee has reformed in the distant Atlantic (a thousand miles east of Bermuda.) Lee is not a danger to land.

Friday September 22, 2017

11:12a Happy Autumn dear reader. Today is the autumnal equinox.

While Saturday night is the big night at Harborfest, tonight is also dinner & tunes. Roland’s BBQ & Saltwater Gold at Harborfest tonight @ River Dunes.

Dark Duck Rabbit beers on tap today (and through the weekend) @ New Village Brewery. Ken Belangia tonight at The Red Rooster. All in What’s Happening.

10:54a Maria’s forecast track remains well offshore. If it goes where forecast, we may see little to no impact (rather like Josie.) From the National Hurricane Center:

Maria will be closer to the east coast of the United States and Bermuda by the middle of next week, but it is too soon to determine what, if any, direct impacts there might be in these areas.

Checking the long term computer models, you may note that one radical errant model has Maria taking a sharp left, heading to the Cherry Branch Ferry, than back towards The Bean and overland north to Albemarle Sound.

Fortunately, all the other computer models (and the official forecast) don’t do that. Perhaps we might put it aside.

Thursday September 21, 2017

2:24p The official NHC 5 day track now takes Hurricane Maria to almost our latitude. We continue to be fortunate… the forecast keeping Maria wellll offshore.

Now over water, Maria has picked up some renewed power. 120 mph, Category 3. The trek north will take her over cooler waters… Hurricane Maria is forecast to be at 85 mph Category 1 five days from now.

7:49a We might see a little rain this afternoon. Otherwise, sunshine & mid 80s today/Friday, about 80 for the weekend. Perfect stuff for Harborfest.

7:45a The official forecast track of Hurricane Maria moved farther east overnight, now (again) showing a path closer to Bermuda than the US east coast.

Wednesday September 20, 2017

5:05p Now 110 mph (Category 2), and forecast to be at 90 mph (Category 1) in 5 days. Hurricane Maria is still powerful hurricane, but down a serious notch or two as she gets closer.

More good news – the latest official NHC 5 day forecast has nudged a bit east. More offshore. Away from us.

Most long term forecast models remain well offshore… although there are a couple radical outliers pointing more or less at us (see below.)

click images for larger view

2:22p The family of Jerome Parker tells TownDock that Jerome passed away peacefully Sunday. Jerome and Anne Parker have been long time residents of Oriental. The family will have a celebration of his life at a later date. At right is Jerome at the Battleship North Carolina.

Jerome’s work can be seen in Oriental at the history museum. He hand crafted a model of the Steamer Oriental, and donated it to the museum in 2009. You can see it at this link.

2:14p An Air Force Hurricane Hunter reports the center of Maria just off the northwestern coast of Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria now 115 mph, Category 3.

The NHC Forecaster’s Discussion has not been updated to include this new info (the reduced winds)… we’ll have to wait for the 5p update to see how that may effect Maria’s speed 5 days out. The official forecast path remains offshore, but close enough at day 5 to our shores for local concern. That forecast track will change around… which way is the question.

11:01a Hurricane winds are slowed by time spent over land. Unfortunately for Puerto Rico, that is where Hurricane Maria is today. Now 140 mph (Maria was 175 last night), still Category 4. The official NHC forecast track about the same, long term computers models a bit west but still most are well offshore.

NOAA/NHC is forecasting that we may get tropical storm winds from Maria as early as late Sunday / Monday. It will depend on how close the path the ultimately is, and how big Maria is.

6:48a Summer-esque day ahead. Sunshine, high near 90. Almost autumn returns for the weekend, with highs around 80.

Well, actually it will be autumn. The autumnal equinox is Friday, September 22. On the equinox, night and day are the same length – 12 hours. The word “equinox” is derived from Latin… meaning “equal night.”

That’s your Mister Peabody knowledge for today.

6:40a Maria’s long term models back a bit west (they’re calmer in Bermuda this morning), but still clearly offshore. Puerto Rico not so fortunate, getting Hurricane Maria right now. The storm is technically now Category 4 – it’s 155 mph (a Category 5 is 156 mph and above.)

Jose is no longer a hurricane – now Tropical Storm Jose, still offshore, and raining on Massachusetts.

Tuesday September 19, 2017

8:00p 175 mph.

5:22p The long term forecast tracks today have been our friend, showing Maria staying offshore in her future trek north. Those forecasts are a week out… we shouldn’t count a visit from Maria out yet.

11:07a Maria trending a bit more east. Bermuda may start worrying more than us.

8:25a Maria back to 160 mph, Category 5.

7:00a Despite all the hurricane talk, the weather at our lat / long is just fine. Clouds around this morning, then clearing this afternoon, about 80. Wednesday a return to summer, highs near 90. The weekend looks sweet, sunshine & 80.

6:38a This morning Hurricane Maria is “only” a Category 4 storm, in the most splitting hairs kinda way. Category 5 is 156 mph and above. Maria is currently at 155 mph. Call it a Category 4.9.

There is positive news. Overnight long term computer models appear to have all moved east and offshore, taking Maria’s probable path between our shores and Bermuda. This will likely dance around in coming days, but for the moment we get slightly lowered blood pressure.

The Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico will get the force of a Category 5 or 4 storm. However, Maria is forecast to gradually weaken, being at 115 mph by Sunday.

Hurricane Jose’s path again may involve clockwise corkscrews. But this time the maneuver is in northern waters… Jose will be losing strength soon (probably not a hurricane by tomorrow), and by the time the new loopy maneuver is underway Jose will no longer be a tropical storm.

click images for larger view

Monday September 18, 2017

7:58p Hurricane Hunter aircraft report that Maria is now a Category 5 storm. 160 mph. From NHC:

This special advisory is being issued to increase the initial and
forecast intensity of Maria. Recent reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that Maria continues to rapidly strengthen… the initial intensity of Maria has
been increased to 140 kt (160 mph), making Maria a potentially catastrophic category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some additional strengthening is possible during the next 24 hours, but fluctuations in intensity are likely due to eyewall cycles and land interaction. No change was made to the previous track forecast, and the extremely dangerous core of Maria is expected to pass over Dominica within the next hour or two.
The National Hurricane Center is predicting Hurricane Maria will have lost some strength 5 days out, forecasting 120 mph.

Meanwhile, Jose is almost directly east of us. Weather radar showing some precipitation coming through in classic counterclockwise motion (wayyy outer bands of Jose.) We’re just getting occasional sprinkles.

5:01p Hurricane Maria now Category 4. 130 mph. Projected to be at 155 mph tomorrow. On the bright side (Mom always said there was one), the hurricane force winds are just near the eye of Maria. For now, anyway.

This one could be a nail biter. The official NHC track has moved slightly west & south (not good from our perspective.) Long term computer models still mostly keep Maria offshore, but…

click images for larger view

11:28a Heartworks HarborFest is this coming weekend. Dinner? The time to register is now. From Heartworks:

Today is the last day to register to attend Harborfest for HeartWorks. Laurie Sampson has to give the caterers a final headcount tomorrow. Check all the great stuff to be auctioned Saturday night. The on-line catalog is here. Basketball fans might win tickets to the UNC/Duke game on March 3. Click here for item #67 and sailors a trip to parts of the Caribbean spared by Irma. Go here for item #96

More info at harborfestnc.com.

11:05a Jose down to 75 mph peak winds as he treks north (offshore.) Maria is a different story. Maria now 120 mph, a Category 3 storm. And growing. From NOAA/NHC:

Reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that Maria is undergoing rapid intensification. Atmospheric and oceanic conditions appear favorable for additional rapid strengthening for the next 24 h and possibly longer.
NHC now predicts Maria will be a 150 mph Category Four storm within the next 48 hours.

Most models show Maria trending offshore as she approaches the US east coast, but this will be a nervous watch.

8:03a For a day with a hurricane just offshore, it’s rather nice out there. Mixed sun/clouds and a high near 80.

Mark Twain is coming to town… tomorrow at The Old Theater.

7:55a Buenos dias dear reader. Another Monday. Another hurricane (or two) to track.

Jose is out there (about 270 miles ESE of Cape Hatteras), almost directly to our east. We will see little effect here. Jose’s forecast track now has a new clockwise corkscrew predicted at the end of the week… which could bring Jose back to somewhere between VA & NJ.

Hurricane Maria. Now at 110 mph (Category Two). Maria is forecast to be at 140 mph, Category Four, in the next two days. Long term computer models vary between a SC landfall… and Maria staying offshore (more models are trending offshore.) We’re kinda in between all that.