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Oriental After Florence        Hurricane Lost & Found

It's Thursday September 20, 2018 Dock Quote: Wherever you go,...

News From The Village Updated Almost Daily

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Oriental After Florence:

Putting a town back together. The Story

Florence Raises Water, Rearranges Town:

Days 2 & 3: Fishing pier destroyed; boats, dragon unmoored. The Story

Hurricane Florence Photos:

Florence, Day 1. The Story

Greens Creek Challenge 2018:

25 years of small boat sailing on the creek. The Story

Army Landing Craft Hit Oriental:

Army refuels, leaves their mark. The Shipping News

Bow to Stern One Design Regatta 2018:

Sailors from age 6 to 70, sailboats from 13' to 35'. The Story

Town Board Meeting August 2018:

A new grant opportunity, hungry animals, street closings. The Story

Oriental Receives $916,406 Grant:

$ Targeted at Restoring Whittaker Point. The Story

Dragon's Breath Regatta 2018:

Sailors race in sun and rain. The Story

Mister July 2018 - Boo:

Crooning companion. Pet Of The Month

Ol' Front Porch Music Festival 2018 Lineup:

Bluegrass, Folk, and Americana coming to the porches of Oriental. The Story

Letters: Carol Wright Thanks Customers & Friends:

Oriental Buyers Broker Slows Down. Letters To The Editor

Heber Guthrie Skiff Donated To PCC Foundation:

You Could Be The New Owner. The Story

New Owners Settle in at Sailcraft Service:

Sailcraft changes hands, adds to services. The Story

Town Board Meeting July 2018:

Public hearing set, Employee honored. The Story

Scenes from Croaker Festival 2018:

Camps, pies, and the Croaker Queen. The Story

Nick Santoro, 1942-2018:

Husband, Father, Author. The Story

Summer Camp Memories :

Readers write in with summer camp stories. The Story

Hope Regala 2018 :

Signed helmets, a trip abroad, and a $10,000 gift help local non-profit. The Story

Town Board Meeting June 2018:

Whittaker Point, 2018-19 Budget, and July's meeting moved up . The Story

Mister June 2018 - Petey:

Four-footed hospice helper. Pet Of The Month

Susan Elaine:

Home-built traditional sailboat. The Shipping News

Pizza, Soul, and Rock n' Roll at Silospalooza 2018:

6th Annual brings a little rain, a lot of music. The Story

King Tides Project Comes to Oriental:

Photographs contribute to UNC research. The Story

Bought. Sold. The 2018 Town Wide Yard Sale.:

Push mower with a cupholder and Santa riding a chicken. The Story

Town Board Meeting May 2018:

Ordinances amended, rezoning request denied. The Story

RiverKeeper and Citizen Scientists Get Funded:

'Cue for the Neuse brings in nearly $5,000 raised for river protection. The Story

SV SkinnyDipper:

Powerboaters become Loopers on a Meadowlark 37. The Shipping News

Letters: Dredge Spoil Poses Danger to Wildlife:

Dredge spoil captures deer. Letters To The Editor

2018 Oriental In-Water Boat Show:

A British Seagull, a Chris Craft, and a Swift Trawler all in one place. The Story

Wooden Sailing Skiff's Journey to the Boat Show:

NCCHA's new old boat comes to the show. The Story

Town Board Meeting April 2018:

Fees new and old, rezoning for a sale, street closings finalized. The Story

SailPack Regatta 2018:

20 teams from 16 Schools Sail on the Neuse. The Story


Circumnavigators become coastal cruisers. The Shipping News

Dragons, Pirates, and Popcorn at the 2018 PAWS Pet Parade:

Bribe the judge for a good cause. The Story

SailPack Regatta Comes March 30 - April 1st:

Coach Dana Magliola on the SailPack Regatta. Guest Columnist

Chowder Cook-off 2018:

A festival celebrating chowder & St. Patrick's Day. The Story

College Sailing Teams Visit Oriental:

Sailing students train in town. The Story

Florence knocked out Endurance Seafood, a small family fishing business owned by Keith Bruno. When TownDock visited, Bruno retained his classic positive attitude about it all. The docks and ice house were totally destroyed. It may take a few months, but the business will be back. The sign, washed up in his yard, is from a military bombing target in the Pamlico Sound.

Thursday September 20, 2018

6:26p Hwy 70 is closed in Kinston. From NCDOT:

A four-mile section of U.S. 70 was closed Thursday because of flooding blamed on Hurricane Florence.
“The Neuse River has overflowed its banks, causing the road to flood,” said Preston Hunter, division engineer for the N.C. Department of Transportation Division 2.
The closed section extends from U.S. 258 on the west side of Kinston to N.C. 58 on the south side of town.
A marked detour directs eastbound motorists to travel north around Kinston via N.C. 148 (C.F. Harvey Parkway), N.C. 58, Cunningham Road, N.C. 11, N.C. 102 and U.S. 17.
The National Weather Service has predicted that the Neuse will crest Saturday in Kinston at near 26 feet. It was just above 24 feet when it flooded U.S. 70 Thursday. Here are water level gauges:
Neuse River at Kinston NC Water Levels
Neuse River Goldsboro NC Water Levels
Tar River at Greenville NC Water Levels
Pamlico River at Little Washington NC Water Levels

4:08p The curfew has been lifted in Oriental. You can again go on that midnight moonlight stroll.

Power has been restored at Pecan Grove Marina.

2:55p The Oriental Classic Car Show is getting postponed by Florence – but just a bit. Originally scheduled for October 13, the new date is Saturday October 27. That’s the same date as the Chili Cook-Off. You can eat chili and check out classic cars.

2:33p Bill & Camilla Wheeler operate Nautical Wheelers in both Oriental & New Bern. The Oriental store got about 4 inches of water (a bit more than Irene.) They prepared for the storm – and are already again open for business in Oriental, 10a-6p 7 days a week.

The New Bern store got 4 feet of water in it – a near total loss – and will take several weeks to reopen. Bill Wheeler confirms New Bern will reopen – the rebuilding process has already begun.

1:50p From Jan LaGuardia at Village Health & Fitness:

We will be open Friday for Physical Therapy appointments only, the gym is closed for repairs. Monday we reopen with normal hours 6a – 8p – the gym will be open starting Monday. The pool will be closed until further notice.

1:28p Jeff Styron tells TownDock that Garland Fulcher Seafood on Hodges (Buddy & crew) will be open normal hours 10a-5:30p Friday & Saturday.

1:20p The Silos will reopen Friday, and stay open 7 days a week for a while post Florence. O’Town will reopen Saturday, and then also stay open 7 days a week. Brantleys reopens Saturday morning 7a for breakfast.

12:25p Electricity now flows to Dolphin Point.

12:17p New Village Brewery came back with water, bleach, and a few kegs from Koi Pond and Hopfly brewing. They are ready for you, Oriental. Doors open at 3p today.

12:06p The last hot lunch is being served right now at the Fire Station on Straight Rd. It is the last hot meal being served.

10:43a Power is back for most of Oriental, but not all. Dolphin Point is still out, and there are still a significant number of homes in “downtown” Oriental without power. Utility trucks are out repairing downed lines right now.

Power is back at TownDock HQ. Clean laundry coming soon.

From First Citizens Bank in Oriental:

To the owners of the cars still sitting in the bank parking lot – we do believe they have been flooded and awaiting to be towed. The bank will have to have them towed tomorrow but only to the back parking lot behind the bank so our contractors can utilize the front lot for repairs to the inside of the bank.
FYI, the bank expects to reopen Sept 26.

9:44a Duke Energy has re-energized Oriental. Power is back.

9:39a Entergy utility repair trucks (working for Duke) back out in numbers around Oriental this morning.

8:46a When did power go off in Oriental? It was a week ago, Thursday Sept 13 around 4p. Hurricane Florence’s 9 1/2 ft high water mark was later that day, about 11:30p.

8:34a The Cherry Branch Ferry is back on a limited daytime schedule:

From Cherry Branch: 6am, 7am, 8am, 9am, 10am, 11am, Noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm.
From Minnesott Beach: 6:30am, 7:30am, 8:30am, 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am; 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm.

8:23a Sunny, clear low 80s today. Clear and dry through at least Saturday.

On the Atlantic no probable tropical storms likely in the next few days.

6:12a You smug Tidelanders. You and your electricity and lights and hot showers and air conditioning. Fancy.

Here in Oriental we’re hardy storm survivors. We’re not jealous. Electricity is for wimps.

Duke (Power?) Today may be the day. We’re waiting on the lineman:

Wednesday September 19, 2018

7:17p Power on Straight Rd out by Bent Tree, courtesy Tideland.

5:26p Hot food just arrived at Fire Station 19 on Straight Rd in Oriental. A free hot meal is yours – tonight it’s chicken with green peas – just stop on by. And soon… hurricane hot meals are popular.

4:53p Power trucks have been all over town today. When will power return? The latest official word has not changed – “by Sept 26 11:45PM.” That of course doesn’t mean that time exactly – in effect it means any time from now until that time.

Seeking something more specific, TownDock again reached out to a can’t-be-named Duke Energy middle management contact. Power will not be restored tonight. There is still significant pole and line work to go, but they believe (no guarantees) that Oriental will be “turned on sometime Thursday.” No time of day guess. Later seems more likely than earlier.

Here’s hoping.

2:57p The welcome to Oriental sign, many boats and a fancy carved cane. It’s all in Hurricane Lost & Found. FYI, lost & found ads are free.

1:53p From Town Hall: water restrictions have been lifted. May the hosing / pressure washing begin.

1:40p At 10a tomorrow morning, St. Peter the Fisherman church on White Farm Rd will be giving out cleaning supplies and boxes of food until they run out. It’s a drive up affair: you pull up in your car, they hand you a box, and off you go.

1:13p Bayview/Aurora Ferry is back up running on schedule. The Cherry Branch/Minnesott Beach Ferry is still down for repairs.

11:50a Businesses open today in Oriental: Piggly Wiggly is open normal hours 7a – 8p. Village Hardware open, cash only. Croakertown Coffee, 7a-3p, cash only. The Provision Company, cash only when the door is open.

11:34a Will Duke get it done today? Thursday? Trucks arrived enmasse this morning, and then were deployed. They are on Hwy 55 and multiple Oriental and nearby side roads. Their web site still says Sept 26, 11:45PM (as it has for days.) It would appear closer than that. We will endeavor to get a useful update this afternoon.

10:34a Air Force One spotted on landing path on the Neuse River. The President is landing at Cherry Point.

10:06a First Citizens Bank in Oriental is closed due to water damage – there is has a tentative re-open date of Sept 24. The Bayboro branch is open for regular hours and the Oriental staff are there in the interim.

9:55a Station 19 Fire Station passed out 350 dinner meals last night. They are tentatively scheduled to have meals again today from 12noon – 2p. The actual start time varies – we will post when info comes in.

9:41a TownDock crew saw over a dozen power work trucks rolling into town at 9:15a this morning (see photo above). They staged at The Pig and Dollar parking lots. Several poles between Straight Rd and The Pig still needed repair.

TownDock reader Dave Mauney adds some knowledge about Entergy:

So you know these Entergy trucks are from the utility that serves Louisiana and Texas. They have come a long way to help. Love Linemen. Dangerous job.

8:32a Hurricane Lost & Found has new stuff.

8:18a NOAA Weather Radio is streamed live on TownDock.net. It’s down right now because the NOAA VHF transmitter in New Bern is down, another Florence victim. It is unknown when it will be restored.

8:09a Oriental after Florence… here is a look at Florence’s aftermath in and nearby Oriental.

8:06a Oriental has events coming up in October which are still on. There is clean up to do, but town & its key events continue.

The Ol’ Front Porch Music Festival is Oct 5-7. Organizers are determining which porches are OK and which may have been damaged. All that could change is some tweaks to the festival map. The festival is on.

The Oriental Classic Car Show is the following week, Oct 13. While part of South Avenue have been damaged, the part of South Ave that the car show uses is intact. The beautiful view of the Neuse is intact too. The car show is on.

Florence has taken out at least two events. Harborfest this weekend was cancelled, as was the North Points High School Sailing Regatta planned for Sept 29.

7:07a Sunny & mid 80s today, low 80s Thursday. All sun in the forecast through Saturday. Let the drying continue.

6:49a President Trump is taking in local media ahead of his visit:

6:42a Croakertown Coffee (on Straight Rd near Hwy 55 & the fire station) will have hot caffeine waiting for you starting at 7a this morning. Look for that open sign. Oriental’s Piggly Wiggly will be open at 7a too. Word is the Pig even got the internet back yesterday (makes credit card use possible) – salute to Centurylink for getting that restored.

6:26a Hear that sound? It’s the sound of boots getting shined up – all the way from Cherry Point. Word is Cherry Point is getting a Presidential visit mid morning today… President Trump will visit as part of a Carolina’s tour re Hurricane Florence. Cherry Point last got an Air Force One visit in 2009 from President Obama.

Tuesday September 18, 2018

8:31p More Tideland updates: Blackwell Loop and Teach’s Cove both have power restored. In Duke Energy news, TownDock Senior Management has just enjoyed a cold shower and refueled the generator.

6:52p From Town Manager Miller: 200 hot meals are left at the Fire Station.

6:41p The Water Conservation Notice and Low Pressure Advisory for the county has been rescinded. That’s for the county. Oriental’s Water Conservation mandate is still in effect.

6:14p News from the Fire Station: Hot food is on the way. It will be served starting at 6:30p. The Fire Station is located on Straight Rd just down from Highway 55.

5:51p More juice. From Pat Stockwell:

The area across from Pecan Grove Marina just got power back. Tideland service.

4:22p Pamlico News Editor Ben Casey tells TownDock.net that the weekly paper will not be printed this week – the lack of power and internet access stood in the way of publishing the paper. Next week Sept 26 a double issue is planned.

Rabid Rabbit gets the Florence most difficult docking award.

3:55p Theres an unfamiliar big bright orange thing in the sky. Villagers are somewhat frightened.

3:07p Another update on the electric juice: power was restored to Buccaneer Bay West by Tideland..

2:04p Tideland has power back at Tar Creek near the town of Pamlico.

1:23p Duke trucks are working right in town, right now. One is fixing a downed wire in front of the Brewery – right now.

Town Manager Diane Miller says there is a load of ice moments away from arriving at Town Hall. It is free – come down to Town Hall and get some. You’ll find it under the big pecan tree behind Town Hall.

11:30a Duke working on electric lines just out of town – near Dollar General.

9:52a Duke Energy trucks (and their contract help) working on poles this morning on Hwy 55, getting closer to town. The rain isn’t helping. This pic taken a few minutes ago on 55 near Callison Rd (close to Pickers.)

click image for bigger view

9:43a From Pamlico County:

Points of Distribution are open today from 7 am to 7 pm. Depending on the timing of the arrival of the food supply, we will be serving a meal at each point of distribution sometime between 12 and 2 pm and again sometime between 5 and 7 pm.
Points of Distribution locations are as follows:
Fire Departments in Oriental, Lowland, Vandemere, Florence/Whortonsville, Reelsboro, and Arapahoe and at the Town Hall in Mesic.
That hot meal location in Oriental is the Fire Station on Straight Rd.

9:36a Orchard Creek homes just got power restored. They are on Tideland Electric.

First Citizen’s Oriental employees are working at the Bayboro office today (where they have electricity.) The Oriental bank still has cars parked there from before the storm. Bank Manager Sally Belangia does ask if folks can get those vehicles moved sometime today.

9:32a Town Hall says keep putting green waste at the street / right of way. But it may take longer than hoped to get it all picked up. From Town Manager Diane Miller:

The town can get reimbursed by FEMA for hurricane cleanup. town hall sign The FEMA regulations re green waste removal limit what companies can be hired and where they can haul it to. We can get it done, its just going to take longer. We have two blue waste dumpsters coming to the water tower just for green waste (JUST FOR GREEN WASTE.) Town workers will be picking up green waste and hauling to those containers. The approved company that can haul that away can only take one container every other day. I’m not happy about this – but it is the best arrangement possible at the moment. We are getting green waste hauled away.
What’s green waste? Tree limbs. Vegetation.

8:19a Duke Energy is making its way down 55 today towards Oriental, fixing poles. There are a lot of them. The official word this morning is “Latest Estimated Restoration: No later than Sep. 26, 11:45PM.” That isn’t very uplifting or informative. Contacting Duke hasn’t provided anything more concrete.

However. TownDock.net managed to be a “fly on the wall” yesterday afternoon listening to a discussion with a Duke Energy middle manager re getting power restored to Oriental.

The take away was this: If all goes well, power could be restored to Broad St in Oriental late in the day Tuesday (today.) No guarantees. For those away from Broad St restoration, times could vary from Tuesday to a few days after. It will depend on where poles and/or power lines are out.

7:42a Seven years ago Hurricane Irene visited. After the storm TownDock put together a collection from readers entitled Lessons Learned From Irene. The information is just as valid now – read it at this link.

A favorite from that article is a do it yourself mildew & nasty smell removal formula. It’s one gallon bleach, to three gallons of water and a cup of TSP – TriSodium Phosphate which you can buy at the hardware store. Mix and spray on. Click here to download the hand written formula.

7:25a Croakertown Coffee is open serving coffee, tea & expresso. Cash only. Look for the open sign – they are on Straight Rd.

5:53a Water levels close to normal, and should go down a few inches today thanks to southwest 5-10 winds forecast on the Neuse.

Mixed clouds and sun today – but a 70% chance of rain. A little rain may help wash off some of the primordial ooze/slime left over from surge waters. Wednesday and the rest of the week are forecast to be sunny & mid 80s. Perfect drying weather coming.

Monday September 17, 2018

5:10p Harborfest, scheduled for this weekend Sept 21-23, is a Hurricane Florence victim. Click here for more.

4:29p It’s the Hurricane Florence Lost & Found.

4:24p The info for filing with FEMA – claims, instructions… is available both at the Fire Station and Town Hall.

Hot food will be served at the Fire Station tomorrow at 12noon and 5p.

3:39p The Duck Pond Dragon dragged in Hurricane Florence – it was discovered intact over by Garland Fulcher Seafood. It survived the hurricane – it was in good shape Sunday. Somebody moved it across Hodges St to the sidewalk this morning. In doing so they managed to break both the head and the tail off.

So… TownDock has taken the dragon in for safe keeping. In a couple weeks after life has calmed down for us all, we will seek local artists and boat repair folk to help put the dragon back together again. A re-launch party will happen. The Dragon was designed and created by artist Gary Gresko in 2004.

2:32p The latest re Duke Energy: Power crews are replacing poles on Hwy 55 today between Bayboro and Oriental. If all goes well, power could be restored to Broad St in Oriental late in the day Tuesday (no guarantees.) For those away from Broad St restoration times could vary from Tuesday to a few days after. It will depend on where poles and / or power lines are out.

1:10p Hungry? Hot meals just arrived at Fire Station 19 on Straight Rd. They are waiting on you.
Diane at Town Hall has more info:

Hot meals at the Fire Station. Cleaning supplies also available the Fire Station, plus county representives that can help – info on how to contact FEMA and go through that process and damage assessment forms.
That’s the good news. The bad – the green waste pickup is delayed. Just keep putting stuff by the street and crews will be by this week.

11:52a Village Hardware is open…. running on a generator out front. Cash only.

10:25a Oriental Village Veterinary on Broad St is open – but they have no phone. Doc Sherri Hicks says just bring your pet on in – they are open until 3p today.

10:20a Don Henderson lives next to M&M’s in the old Firehouse/Town Hall, and reports it took on some water. Today, he’s throwing out the floor boards. The water brought some other surprises; Don’s also been busy dispatching snakes.

10:16a Returning? You can get back in – just avoid Highway 70 where the Neuse is flooding Kinston & Goldsboro. Take 264 to Washington and then south on 17. Readers took this route yesterday and reported it worked. Readers also report success taking Highway 33 south from Greenville.
Here are water levels at points along routes home. At this writing Kinston & Goldsboro are flooding. Greenville & Washington are not.
Neuse River at Kinston NC Water Levels
Neuse River Goldsboro NC Water Levels
Tar River at Greenville NC Water Levels
Pamlico River at Little Washington NC Water Levels

9:56a Word is that Duke Power is getting poles fixed on 55 at a fast pace. Power is coming. Time TBD, but days not weeks.

9:31a No ferry service yet. This note just received from Cherry Branch re restoring service:

Working hard at it. Two boats with electrical electronic problems. Both ramps damaged on the Cherry Branch side. No power.

9:17a Reader Cathy Brugett reports Tideland power has been restored in Arapahoe.

8:11a Stuff floats away during hurricanes, and can land far from home. You may have lost something, or something may be in your yard that is seeking its owner. It’s time for the Hurricane Florence Lost & Found on TownDock. It’s free. Send in your items to info@towndock.net.

7:36a The Pig is open – opening at 7a sharp this morning. Staff was there on time because owner Billy Flockhart slept at the store last night. Give that man a thank you.

The gas pumps are open – cash only. Groceries can be purchased with cash or credit card.

A report this morning says that parts of Minnesott Beach have power restored – they are on Tideland Electric. If you travel on Highway 306 you will see little power pole damage. By comparison, between Bayboro and Oriental on Highway 55 there are dozens (likely more) of downed power poles.

What is left of Florence is now a Tropical Depression over the mountains of western NC, winds at 30 mph. The storm’s path is no longer being followed by the national Hurricane Center, and thus no longer by TownDock.

Thankfully, the Atlantic now looks quiet re any storms that would potentially effect the US east coast.

7:31a Apologies that posting got less frequent yesterday and the day before – no internet in a post Florence world. TownDock may have that figured out for coming days. Right now we can post and once again upload photos.

The surge level has kindly lowered some more – now 2 1/2 ft ish. You can see the sidewalk now on Hodges St. Today’s forecast on the Neuse south winds 10-15 knots. That should help push more of the water away.

We hope to get HarborCam restored sometime today.

7:21a Good morning fellow human, and welcome to another day. No trash pickup today – but double pickup next week. But there is Green waste pickup today – bring those branches to the right of way and they will get picked up. For more details scroll below to Sunday 6:12p post.

Sunday September 16, 2018
7:47p The PODS are coming. Relax, relax, we’re not getting a B-movie alien invasion on top of a hurricane. Word from the County is that all Pamlico County govt offices will be closed for regular business this week and that PODS – Points of Distribution – will be set up around the county for Hurricane Florence-related info and supplies.

Oriental’s POD will be at the fire station on Straight Rd. It will be open tomorrow noon til 7p as will other PODS at the Lowland, Vandemere, Florence/Whortonsville, Reelsboro, and Arapahoe fire stations and at Mesic Town Hall.

Though County Government offices will be closed, employees still have to report to work for “storm recovery efforts.”

6:31p The Tiki Bar is open tonight. Enjoy a beverage with a fellow survivor.

6:12p No trash pickup Monday – but there is a plan. From Town Hall:

No trash pickup Monday in Oriental – the company just can’t get enough employees to run the trucks. But here’s the deal – there will be trash pickup next Monday Sept 24. On Sept 24 you can fill the green can AND have extra bags alongside. They will pick it all up.
Green waste will start getting picked up Monday Sept 17. Just pile it up on the right of way. They will pick it all up – even big stuff. Re white goods / appliance pickup / and construction debris – that will happen. Dates TBD.
After hurricanes mosquitoes breed like crazy. Town manager Diane Miller tells TownDock that starting Tuesday the mosquito spraying truck will be out spreading skeeter death. It helps. Another thing that helps are Mosquito Dunks that you can put in pools of water in your yard. They kill the larvae before they breed. They sell ‘em at Village Hardware.

4:26p There is some free water and free cleaning supplies available – look for a white truck in the Town Hall parking lot. Just come on by, please just take what you need. These were donated by area fishing guide George Beckwith.

2:42p Town Manager Diane Miller reports seeing 6 Duke trucks in Stonewall. That doesn’t necessarily mean an electric fix right away, but it is way impressive that they are here this soon. They have a lot to fix in a lot of places.

2:27p The Verizon net is working briefly – so here is a report directly from town. The sun is showing a bit amongst the clouds. A welcome old friend. Water down a few more inches – we’ll call the current surge levels 2 ft 9” ish. Hodges still flooded.

The Pig is open with groceries and gas. The gas will no doubt run out at the rates cars are lined up, but owner Billy Flockhart says he has more on order. It’s hard to know when that will come in with current circumstances. Billy does report he is confident food will be delivered and that the Oriental Piggly Wiggly will keep stocked with food now.

A huge thank you and applause to Billy & staff in keeping the store open. Billy spent $100,000 to put in a generator last year. It is pure life for our town right now.

11:30a The Pig is once again pumping gas. Bring cash. Also, hot prepared food inside – no doubt welcome news if you need the electric power to make a meal.

10:44a Progress. Hiway 55 is open. All the way through to Oriental. Ellen Troeltzsch also reports the Speedway at 55 and 306 has gas.

An exodus-in-reverse is underway, as a growing number of residents who evacuated Oriental are venturing home from points inland. Reports we are getting find the more northerly route out of Raleigh – 264 East ->17 -> 55 – is better than 70.

In the Hwy 70 towns of Goldsboro and Kinston, the Neuse waters have not receded but risen well beyond flood stage. For the returning Florence evacuees, keeping north of that Neuse River basin – not to mention the world of hurt that is New Bern – as long as possible is advisable.

8:33a We know the temptation. You want to get out there and pressure wash the deck, the side of the house, the garage and clear away all those bits of debris the hurricane left. Don’t. In her wake, Florence also left Oriental with leaks in the water system so readily available water supply is low.

Mandatory water conservation is in effect and pressure washing, water hog that it is, is not allowed. Step away from that wand, Bunky. Let there be water for folks to drink, shower, and flush the loo. Save the pressure washing for later in your cleanup, when water supplies are restored. The Town is not merely suggesting this; it’s mandatory. Violators can be fined. (And word to the wise, people are taking photos of violators..)

7:55a We’re still here. The radio silence hasn’t been intentional. It’s been slow posting because there’s just no internet in Oriental. (Keith’s had to text message to inland staff to relay here.)

The slow departure of Florence’s storm surge drags on and on…. But the water levels are going down – at about three feet now. Hodges Street is still flooded. It’s raining lightly this Sunday morning with some modest winds.

Also … we have lots of photos of what Florence did to Oriental – just no net right now to get them online and add them to the mix. In the meantime, we welcome any shots you have.

Saturday September 15, 2018

1:55p Some readers have written in saying Highway 55 is impassible from Bayboro to Oriental due to down power lines and flooded roads. TownDock can’t confirm this, but it would make sense. NCDOT has Highway 55 listed as impassible in their List of Affected Roads.

There are a number of advisories you may want to look into before traveling. A list of current closures and warnings can be found here, at the NCDOT Travel Info Site.

12:22p Report of clear entry into Oriental from New Bern, courtesy of Joe Valinoti. He rode in on Highway 55 from New Bern, turned onto 306 headed toward Arapahoe, then left on Kershaw back towards 55 and on into town. It’s unknown if there were any obstructions on 55 between between Kersahw and 306.

9:51a Oriental is under Mandatory Water Conservation due to leaks in the water system caused by Florence. That means no pressure washing your home. Tempting as it is, give it a few days. Water will be turned off if homes continue to be hosed down.

There’s only so much water available in the town tanks and that would be best put to use for things like food, showers, and flushing toilets: the niceties that keep us civilized. Also, it’s illegal. No point in getting through a storm like this to end up with hefty fines and smelly, irritated neighbors.

8:49a TownDock remote staff is now TownDock relay staff. Senior management reports The Pig is not open, but the generator is running. This might mean refrigerated food waits inside. More good news: the gas pumps are open.

8:40a TownDock senior management has found a ride around town. And then they found this. We think it made the better choice by not sinking.
click photo for bigger view. (Photo Keith Smith)

Remote staff have finished compiling photos from Day 1 of Hurricane Florence, viewable here.

We now begin with Days 2 and 3, updated as pictures come in. A home camera caught an escaping dragon, and boats were found in unexpected places.

Have a Florence photo to share? Send them in to news@towndock.net.

5:57a Today’s forecast just isn’t helpful:

Tropical storm conditions possible. A slight chance of thunderstorms. Showers. Highs in the lower 80s. East winds 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 40 mph. Chance of rain near 100 percent.
Modest east winds are part of the reason the surge is slow to go. High east winds could bring some back. No, not hurricane surge levels. But PITA levels.

The wind forecast does get better after today. Sunday southeast, Monday south, Tuesday southwest. The remaining surge will go away. However odd, today may not be the day.

Wednesday is supposed to be mostly sunny. We’re holdin’ on to that.

5:11a Florence’s big butt is now south and west of us, but just barely.

It’s not raining. The winds 5-15 mph, from the east. Crickets are loud, which is kinda nice.

And surge remains. Now at 3 3/4 ft. Since 8p last night, down 5 inches. That is slowww.

Friday September 14, 2018

8:14p Sad news at Oriental’s Lou Mac Park. Town Hall reports the pier was destroyed by Florence. Just the pilings remain:

click photo for bigger view. (Eric Kindle photo)
This explains why the water level gauge isn’t working. It was attached to that pier.

8:01p That Flo. She just won’t go. Florence’s center is down in SC, and moving at a paltry 3mph. But Flo has a big butt. And that big Flo butt is over us, still raining, still windy.

Water levels now just over 4 feet (manually measured at TownDock HQ.) It is slow, but they are receding.

Town Hall reports they will not have to turn water off tonight, but it is still a close call. The water plant takes water out of the aquifer, filters it, and pumps it up to the water tower for our use. There are leaks from the storm, likely caused by tree downings and dock damage and etc. If you are in town, please check for leaks, and keep water use minimal. If it goes off – it may be off for a few days and that would be unpleasant. Some nearby areas have had to do that.

There is a curfew in effect in both Oriental and Pamlico County from 9p to 6a.

4:42p We’ve had almost 6 inches of rain so far today. Yesterday 4.5 inches fell (the weather station may not note that right now – but it did.) We were ultimately forecast to be in a 10-15 inch rain zone, and that is proving to be accurate.

TownDock readers are sending in their Hurricane Florence photos.

4:20p The automated Oriental Water Level Gauge stopped working overnight. The reading of 6.8 ft you see right now is not accurate.

TownDock will continue to report levels using the patented Surge Stick in the TownDock HQ basement. It’s one of our home’s pilings, where major hurricane levels have been noted. The current measurement is about 4.5 to 4.7 ft. At 5a this morning it was 7 ft. It lowered from 7 to 5 ft in about 6 hours.

Yes, the levels are going down…. but slowwwwly. When previous hurricanes have left town water receded promptly. Not Miss Flo.

TownDock doesn’t just include the automated water level gauge in Oriental – you’ll find most all of the level gauges in eastern NC on TownDock. Checking those you’ll see that levels at points like Goldsboro and Kinston are not yet at flood stages. But they are expected to in a few days. If you evacuated you’ll want to check points like these to see if roads are passable. The state has a site with current road conditions at https://tims.ncdot.gov/tims.
Neuse River at Kinston NC Water Levels
Neuse River Goldsboro NC Water Levels
Tar River at Greenville NC Water Levels
Pamlico River at Little Washington NC Water Levels

2:38p Town Hall reports there are multiple leaks to the Town’s water system. They could be from water to docks or to irrigation systems. If you have either of those, please turn them off for now. If enough of the leaks cannot be found and turned off or fixed, they may have to turn off town water for a while.

2:05p Power restoration? Before the storm hit, Duke Energy warned it could take weeks due to Florence’s size and impact. Power crews are unlikely to begin in earnest until Saturday – its just too dangerous out there today. From Tideland Power:

77% of Tideland system is without power. Conditions do not allow personnel to safely begin restoration in your area.
Readers have reported seeing parking lots full of power crew trucks in Greenville NC, waiting until post Flo to get to work.

1:52p Water levels still about 5 ft. They went down a few inches, then back up a few inches. The center of Hurricane Florence is down near that Myrtle Beach putt putt course now. We are getting Flo’s posterior wind bands. It appears like it could take the rest of the day for Flo to go.

There is a tornado watch until 5p. That’s it regarding three syllable natural disasters today. No asteroid strikes expected.

Phone calls and emails coming in requesting info about specific properties. TownDock has one human on staff for this event, and that human isn’t going outside today. It’s still blowing at Tropical storm force, and we still have 5 ft of surge water around (plus the stock at TownDock HQ of smoked salmon and scotch has not been depleted.)

If your property is in or near Oriental, it is likely it experienced about the same impact as Irene. If your home or business flooded during Irene, it probably flooded last night from Florence.

12:02p TownDock Senior management will stay inside today (surrounded by water), but Town Hall crew have been out and about. They report trees down, power lines down. They will work to get trees out of roads so emergency vehicles and and power line crews can pass. Today will be a hard day to get any outdoor work done – there are still tropical storm force winds and a lot of rain.

Debris everywhere. Free gas cans for everyone (not so sure about contents.) Lots of lumber.

The weather station wind gauge not working again. May need a trip to the roof. Today just doesn’t feel like the right day for that.

Good News: Duck Pond Dragon found… it is tied up at Sherrill Styron’s Garland Fulcher Seafood.

11:19a Sorry for delay between postings. It’s that sleep thing.

Florence keeps raining & blowing on town. Water levels now at 5 ft. That will keep TownDock Senior Management inside for now. Unlike Irene where we had a calm eye (and you could go for a quick canoe or kayak mission) Florence will have high winds while we have high water.

Just standing on the deck (overlooking the Duck Pond) you can see numerous trees down. They all appear to have fallen generally south – pushed by the high north & northeast winds.

Chainsaws and bleach will be part of life for the next week. Today seems like a day just to let Florence leave. Saturday the clean-up fun begins.

6:34a All looks well, by the dawn’s early light. Our town is still there:

6:14a The wind gauge is back. This morning’s high wind 62 mph at 5:31a. There are still tropical storm conditions out there right now, but the worst has passed.

We didn’t measure anything like the huge rainfall numbers that we were warned of (20 plus inches.) Yesterday saw 4.5 inches, about an inch so far today. The Oriental Weather Station rain gauge may have missed some of it when winds were highest – it might not capture rain coming at it sideways.

6:07a Go ahead – pinch yourself.

Not like that Bunky. Harder.

See? You’re alive.

5:55a The water level gauge at Lou Mac Park pier is a little drunk this morning. It says 36 ft. It’s actually about 6 to 7 right now.

4:58a The surge level is now about 7 ft. That’s a lot of water still, but the sight of a couple of feet of surge leaving is calming. It’s still windy, but more like 30s & 40s (the weather station wind gauge still not working since about midnight.)

Weather radar shows the center of Florence over Wilmington. We are getting near the back end of Florence’s bands.

Florence’s high water mark was 9 1/2 ft at about 11:30p last night. It was measured at an inch higher than Irene’s waters at TownDock’s downtown Oriental location. Surge measurements can vary a bit even locally, but if you assume an impact to your property of about the same as Hurricane Irene (2011) that will be close.

1:27a Weather Radar is showing Florence beginning to move away.

Hurricane Florence Tracking Chart
Hurricane Florence Forecaster’s Discussion & Computer Models
Hurricane Florence Public Advisory
Oriental NC Water Level Gauge
Newport / Morehead City Weather Radar
NOAA Weather Radio

1:03a You may be seeing some nonsense wind speed numbers. Like 2 mph. Sorry, big time nope.

It’s blowing 50 ish. The wireless anemometer hasn’t yet reconnected with the weather station.

The generator had to be turned off (water getting near the circuit breaker panel.) And then the battery backup ran out (staff human slept a bit.) It takes a while for all the electronic stuff to come back to life.

1:01a You’re up late. Tell ya what – we’ll make it worth you’re while.

The water levels have receded about 6 inches.
About 90 minutes ago Flo peaked at just an inch above Irene’s high water mark. We’ll call it 9.6 feet. Now, it is just about an inch above the Isabel mark. We’ll call it 9.1 feet.

The above water levels are directly measured at TownDock’s downtown Oriental offices by the Duck Pond. The Oriental Water Level Gauge at the Lou Mac park pier is seeing levels slightly down too. It peaked at 9.2 at 11:25p. At 12:25p 8.8 ft.

Flo may be just messin’ with a tired TownDocker, but it is a really sweet sight.

Thursday September 13, 2018

11:30p It is only about an inch above, but Hurricane Florence has now created water levels higher than Hurricane Irene. We’ve been seeing east (more surge) winds… waiting on southeast (less surge) winds.

11:01p Right now even teeny tiny bits of good news are notable. The 11p NHC Florence update has Flo with 90 mph winds, and is moving 6 (SIX) mph NW. That’s up from 5. Any sign of Flo acceleration is welcome.

The faster Flo gets west, the sooner southeast winds begin. That will first stop the surge and then begin to drain it.

In the 11p NHC Public Advisory: Cape Fear NC to Cape Lookout NC…7-11 ft, with locally higher amounts in the Neuse, Pamlico, Pungo, and Bay Rivers. Rather hoping not to be “locally higher.”

Meanwhile: Water levels now within an inch of Hurricane Irene. The rising waters are about to get into the circuit breaker box, so the generator is now off. Battery backup will keep everything going for an hour. Working on doing a bunch of extension cords, which will work… except. Except it’s really @$%! windy rainy out there. Haven’t figured out how to get the cords in from the outside. Yet.

10:08p At TownDock HQ – the Florence surge is now exactly equal to Hurricane Isabel, 9 ft (2003.) And just 6 inches from Irene, 9 1/2 ft (2011.)

Winds seem to be increasing even more, and the forecast track suggests it will be morning at best when the winds become southeast (which will begin to lower the surge.)

Sorry fellow campers, but it’s looking like a new high water mark for Oriental will happen overnight.

FYI, this is measured at TownDock.net by the Duck Pond. The automated Oriental Water Level Gauge is at the pier at Lou Mac park. It is a few inches different, but right now that doesn’t seem significant.

9:28p Wowza. That was some wind. 75 mph just minutes ago.

8:58p At TownDock Headquarters we are now 3 inches shy of Isabel (9 ft) and 9 inches shy of Irene (9 1/2 ft.) And it keeps rising. Hurricane Florence’s track suggest it will cause surge until at least morning. Right now this writer will feel fortunate if we only get to 10 feet.

8:50p There is a crew camping out at Town Hall, plus staff at the water tower. From Town Manager Diane Miller:

Pass the word, conserve water. Water plant is now waterfront property. The tanks are full, but once they’re empty we may have difficulty pumping if the wellhead goes under.
At Town Hall they report water over the sidewalk and coming up the lawn.

8:10p Water levels again rising. Now over 8 feet. It is blowin’ stink out there, house shaking a bit on gusts. We had a 69 mph wind peak a few minutes ago.

We are now “just” forecast to get 10-15 inches of rain. Two 1/2 so far. In the 8p NHC update Florence has 100 mph winds, moving at a slow 5 mph.

If you look at the forecast track, Flo could still be delivering east winds in the morning. By Friday afternoon they should become southeast and start to recede the surge. But that is a long time for surge to build, between now and then. And we are already over 8 feet.

6:57p The TownDock surge stick (a piling in the “basement” that has been marked with every major hurricane) got to near 8 feet a half hour ago. We are hardly out of the woods, but the levels have gone down an inch or two in the last 15 minutes.

First dip seen so far.

FYI, TownDock Senior Management was feeling sorry for himself. The place is a mess (moving stuff up from the “basement” to the living area – higher ground.) Internet is out, power is out. The TownDock pull start Honda 2000 generator is running. It powers the lights, computer stuff and fridge. No air. It’s gonna be hot and clammy by tomorrow morning.

The only net access right now is smartphone hotspot. It is maybe 1/4 dial up speed (slower than usual – but it does work. Barely.) That is why posting is less frequent. It is hard to get stuff online. Photos are being uploaded by TownDock staffer Allison – in Georgia.

Back to feeling sorry. In recent minutes smoked salmon and Laphroaig 21 year old scotch has been consumed. The world seems a better place now.

5:44 New high wind: 64mph at 5:34p.

The 5p Florence update has the forecast thing we didn’t want to see. The storm is now moving at just 5 mph. Winds have turned NE to ENE. We need ot get to east… to get to southeast. How long that takes will determine what the surge stops at.

5:21p The TownDock surge stick now reads 7ft of water. And rising.

4:39p Power went out at TownDock HQ a little after 4p. We’ve had reports of power outages throughout town. Water gauge reads 6.14 ft. There’s a bit of a lag when processing those water levels. The low-tech stick in the basement of TownDock HQ suggests the water levels are 6.5 ft and climbing.

Wind speed is currently in the high 40s, though it hit a high of 63mph at 3:40p. It’s not over yet.

2:38p The Duck Pond Dragon is dutifully pointing into the north wind. Mr. Dragon may have insufficient scope if levels get too much higher.

2:32p At 2p Florence was comin’ in, 110 miles ESE of Wilmington. Wind speed 105 mph, movement 10 mph NW. That 10 mph ain’t bad, but it is expected to slow its movement, so Flo can rain and wind on us. We’d like Flo to stay at 10 mph and move along.

Wind levels have reduced to mid 30s in the last hour. As Flo gets closer in coming hours they will likely jack back up.

Hurricane Florence Tracking Chart
Hurricane Florence Forecaster’s Discussion & Computer Models
Hurricane Florence Public Advisory
Oriental NC Water Level Gauge
Oriental Weather Station
Newport / Morehead City Weather Radar
NOAA Weather Radio

2:21p Heavy traffic has slowed the site this afternoon. We are tweaking the server and working to stay online.

Water levels just over 5 ft now. The measurement is from the river level gauge – it is located at the Lou Mac Park pier. TownDock also measures from a marked piling in the TownDock HQ “basement.” Wood stick technology. We are pleased it is in rather tight agreement – still about a foot to go to the level that was Hurricane Ophelia – 6 ft.

12:47p We just got a 50 mph wind peak. Check the graphs at the Oriental Weather Station. Wind goin’ up, barometer diving.

12:11p Four and a half feet.

TownDock readers are sending in their Florence photos – take a look.

11:28a Water levels now over 4 ft, and and we are just barely getting Florence. Levels that high this soon are disturbing. We’re seeing north winds – the Pamlico Sound likely getting northeast winds. These are indeed surge winds.

Florence 105 mph at 11a, slowed down to 10 mph. Further slowing expected, and that is going to get weary. High wind for the day now 42 mph at 11:15a.

11:26a From Town Hall:

Mayor Belangia has signed an addendum to the State of Emergency, enacting a curfew in the Town’s Corporate Limits from 9PM to 6AM daily until the State of Emergency is lifted. Other than emergency personnel and Town Staff, nobody should be out of their private residence between those hours. This measure is taken to further ensure the safety of those who chose to stay behind.
You don’t want to be outside in this anyway.

11:14a Starting to get interesting, and it hasn’t even started. Spectrum internet down at TownDock HQ – now doing backup bandaid solutions. Power is on, but has flickered a few times. Rain, on and off.

10:12a The Pig got a truckload of gas. Now pumping. Also ice and water. The Pig plans to stay open until 12 noon. The pumps will stay open after after that (pay-at-the-pump.)

9:14a 3.6 feet. But who’s counting? Got some good Florence photos? Email ‘em in to news@towndock.net.

High wind 31 mph at 8:49a.

8:23a Water levels now at 3.4 feet. And it’s early. Oy, it’s gonna be a long couple days.

8:12a Lots of questions coming in about surge. No, that damn Keith is not holding back on a secret surge forecast.

Imagine this big counterclockwise thang. That’s Florence. She’s a big girl, the size of a couple states. As Florence approaches we expect to get northeast, and then east winds. Both those directions will pile up water in the Neuse. But then, as Florence gets even closer, those would become southeast winds. Southeast winds should lower those waters.

However how long the slow moving Florence delivers us northeast and east winds will determine our fate. There is an additional factor – Florence is just so huge it is pushing a wall of water to the coast. That is likely contributing the high waters

Is the 9-13 ft forecast overblown? Maybe. Hopefully. But maybe not. If Florence blows at tropical storm to category 1 hurricane strength from the northeast then east – for a longgg time – all bets are off.

A look at Oriental’s previous high water moments:
Hurricane Irene visited August 27, 2011. Irene delivered a 9 1/2 foot surge.
Hurricane Isabel landed in Oriental September 18, 2003. Isabel’s surge reached 9 feet.
Hurricane Ophelia came September 15, 2005 Ophelia “only” had about a 6 foot surge.

8:02a Rain bands (just light stuff so far) are passing over. The day’s high wind 24 mph at 7:03a. So far.

At 8a Florence remains Category 2, 110 mph winds. The storm, as forecast, has begun to slow: NW 12 mph.

7:27a Water levels at 3.2 ft. The town dock is almost underwater.

Village Hardware was open all yesterday, but now they are closed until after Florence. Oriental’s Piggly Wiggly is amazingly open this morning – they plan to be there until noon.

The hoped for gas shipment to The Pig did not arrive yesterday.

5:56a Water levels up a bit more – now 3.1 ft.

5:40a You can see Florence’s edge on weather radar this morning.

5:26a A frequent question – is Oriental empty? Well, more than any storm observed before. The wind forecast of a couple days ago (150 mph and pointed more at us) had lots of folks heading west to Raleigh and further. But more than a few remain. Some made the decision to remain late yesterday as the forecast track moved more south and away from us. TownDock’s small staff is distributed for this storm. Melinda is in Raleigh. Allison in Georgia. Keith (and a cat named Neiko) are in Oriental at TownDock HQ by the Duck Pond.

5:14a We are just on the edge of beginning to feel some Florence. High wind so far today 23mph at 4:30a. Wind speeds are from the Oriental Weather Station. The anemometer is about 45 ft in the air, on a tripod on the roof of TownDock World Headquarters in downtown Oriental.

4:47p Good morning Elmer. You’re up early.

From where we were a couple days ago, life is OK this morning. Hurricane Florence at 5a is 110 mph (Category 2), the center 205 ESE of Wilmington NC. Flo is moving at 15 mph NW. The surge forecast remains 9 to 13 ft. We’ll talk about that more later this morning, but Florence is big. Really BIG. And forecast to start getting slow in her movement. Which means we will be watching Florence’s winds and rain for an unusually long time. Like a couple days. Which is how that surge forecast becomes a possibility (we are hoping not a probability.)

Water levels are now at 3 feet.

Wednesday September 12, 2018

5:43p Guess what campers? There is another tropical storm on the Atlantic. Joyce. That makes four active storms right now. Fear not, Joyce is in the distant Atlantic – pointed at the Azores.

We now resume our regularly scheduled programming.

5:01p The 5p update, Florence is 385 miles SE of Wilmington, moving 16 mph. Some good news – Florence is now 120 mph, Category 3. The storm is now not expected to regain Category 4 strength (130 mph and above) before landfall. That said… Florence is big. And still expected to move slowly as the storm gets close. The surge forecast for the Neuse is unchanged, 9 to 13 feet.

Northeast winds have already moved water levels to 2.6 feet, with water over Hodges by the harbor. This is before any Florence has arrived. Outer bands and potential tropical storm winds could begin later tonight.

The forecast track showing Florence south of us has been with us all day (since early morning), looking like landfall near Wilmington / Wrightsville Beach. with the storm moving slowly down to near Myrtle Beach before heading inland.

That gives us some comfort that we will not endure Florence’s worst winds. However, we still expect winds of tropical storm force to category 1 hurricane force. And the kicker is – those winds are expected to last a long long time. Much of that time in a direction that will cause surge. The NHC surge forecast for the Neuse is 9 to 13 feet. Irene (2011) was 9 1/2 as a reference. Isabel (2003) 9 feet. Homes that have never flooded before could flood.

Or we may be fortunate. How long the northeast and east winds last will decide.

3:24p From a couple decades of hurricane life, power always goes out in hurricanes. How long? In both Isabel (2003) and Irene (2011) it was about 3 days in Oriental, and a few days more at some locations around the county.

Hurricane Florence is expected to have a much bigger impact – taking out power at more locations across a wider area. This afternoon Duke Energy is stating “With the storm expected to linger, power restoration work could take weeks instead of days.” Duke estimates power could be out at 1 to 3 million customer locations.

FYI, TownDock Headquarters in downtown Oriental does have a generator (tested this afternoon.) Further, our server is not located in Oriental, but in a safe datacenter several states away.

2:27p The Pig is out of gas – but more is on the way. They got a full truckload Monday afternoon – it was gone by the next day. Billy says the truck is expected this afternoon by about 4p, but given the high demand he won’t know for sure until it arrives. TownDock will have an update when the gas is delivered.

2:08p Florence marches ever closer – now 435 miles southeast of Wilmington NC, moving at 16 mph.

Through it all – The Pig is still open today. They even have new specials for this week. Billy Flockhart says The Piglet will be open til 8p tonight, and 12noon Thursday. Those are impressive hours as Florence nears. FYI – The Piglet now does have a generator. A BIG generator.

1:53p Water levels are already 2 ft high from today’s northeast winds. It isn’t a helpful place to start from.

1:07p The afternoon video update from the National Hurricane Center. The landfall center has trended south, but Florence is big. Tropical storm winds could begin to be felt Thursday morning:
In Oriental, the Post Office is now closed – and locked (you cannot get in to PO Boxes.)

Traveling west to escape Florence? You can check highway conditions at tims.ncdot.gov/tims.

11:24a OK, we have this hurricane thing going on. But some planned events must occur. Like a wedding. From Town Manager Diane Miller:

OK guys – in need of local help. Nicole, one of our staff, was scheduled to be married THIS Saturday. All of their wedding stuff is dated THIS Saturday. While the big event and reception are postponed, she and Matt would still like to be officially married Saturday- is there a JOP, Magistrate, ANYBODY ordained that can officiate for us- here at Town Hall?
A ship’s captain? Call Town Hall 252-249-0555 with your ordained capabilities. The TownDock.net wedding photography dept may attend.

11:17a The Cherry Branch Ferry will end operating today until post storm:

We are suspending operations, the following will be the last departures for today, 9/12/2018.
Cherry Branch; 11:30am; 12:00pm; 12:30pm.
Minnesott Beach; 11:30am; 12:00pm; 12:30pm; 1:30pm
County offices now closed until post Florence. There is a shelter at PCC that will be available starting today at 5p.

11:08a The 11a update continues to trend a bit more south and west. That Myrtle Beach putt putt course now a direct target. The long term unofficial models have begun to tightly focus on that more southern course too – take a look:

click image for the big view

That said, in the 11a Public Advisory NHC continues with a 9-13 ft surge forecast for the Neuse. Florence’s slow track once she approaches the coast Thursday night is the reason for caution.

10:05a At the boat yards, it has been a week dominated by pulling boats ahead of the hurricane. Sailcraft ran out of jack stands yesterday and the yard is now closed until post Florence. At Deaton’s they are scheduled to pull three more boats today and then they too are out of jack stands.

8:40a The morning video update from the National Hurricane Center. NHC Director Ken Graham continues to warn how slow Florence may move at landfall, and the impact that can have on surge:

8:12a The latest Hurricane Florence briefing from NOAA Newport NC is at this link. We have moved (barely) into the 15-20 inch rainfall zone (a downgrade from the 2o inch plus zone.) The movement of the forecast track west and south has yet to change the official surge forecast – still at 9 to 13 ft for the Neuse. Those levels are seeming less likely as the track moves away. The unofficial long term models have moved even more in the past few hours – showing the track even more south.
Hurricane Florence Tracking Chart
Hurricane Florence Forecaster’s Discussion & Computer Models
Hurricane Florence Public Advisory

7:36a No Bean. No Brantleys. No Deli. Times are tough. The good life plan: Get coffee and cholesterol biscuit at The Pig. Consume on Bean porch.

6:10a The ferry will run on regular schedule today. From Roger Whitehurst in Ferry Operations:

We will be on our regular schedule effective immediately, will repost when weather conditions worsen.
Weather today? Partly sunny & upper 80s. On the Neuse 10-15 knots winds from the northeast.

Florence Nightingale
Florence Nightingale reads up on putt putt
5:12a Bunky, it looks a bit better this morning. Well, potentially for us. It’s no secret that TownDock Senior Management has been trying to create a computer model that sends Florence to a Myrtle Beach putt putt course. This morning, the official NHC projection appears to be doing just that.

This latest forecast track, should it prove to be true, would likely spare us from Florence’s worst winds (we would still get plenty of wind.) We still have surge to look out for.

As the storm approaches late Thursday / early Friday we would expect to get northeast and then east winds. Both those directions will pile up water in the Neuse. But then, as Florence gets even closer, those would become southeast winds. Southeast winds should start lowering those waters. The 5a Public Advisory still does suggest a 9-13 ft surge for the Neuse. That would seem less likely with the latest track, however how long the slow moving Florence delivers us surge-causing winds will be key.

Let’s look at those long term models again. This morning they are suggesting an even more southerly turn than the official NHC forecast:

click images for the big view