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• Oriental's Piggly Wiggly • This Week Aug 12 - 18 •

It's Thursday August 13, 2020 Dock Quote: “Adventure without risk...

News From The Village Updated Almost Daily

Upcoming Events

Oysters Are Coming, Dilapidated Houses Are Going:

COVID Testing Proposed at August 2020 Town Board Meeting. The Story

Prepping for Hurricane Isaias:

Marinas and boat yards prep for the storm. The Story

Hurricane Boat Prep:

The right prep makes for a calmer storm. Captain's Blog

Miss July 2020 - Paige:

Motherhood just isn't for everyone. Pet Of The Month

An Online Scammer Tries and Fails:

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The Story

Herd Immunity:

What is it? How do we get it?. Guest Columnist

Oriental Dental Closes:

But the dental team stays. The Story

Surprisingly Little to Learn:

Sailors beware. Captain's Blog

Letters: Engage Your Heart Instead of Your Mouth:

Supporting a beloved town. Letters To The Editor

Man Overboard:

Safety drills on a river crossing. The Story

Letters: Signs of the Time:

Don't steal political signs. Letters To The Editor

No Tigers Allowed:

Wild and dangerous animals banned in the village. The Story

COVID-19 in Pamlico County:

Community spread and a sharp rise in case numbers. Guest Columnist

Board Finalizes Budget, Looks at Dilapidated Properties Ordinance:

Town Board Meeting July 2020. The Story

Maegan Is Home:

124 days and 5 hospitals later - home in Oriental. The Story

Croakerfest Regatta Goes on:

Sunfish and FJs, Lasers and a Vanguard. The Story

Coronavirus In North Carolina:

Tracking The Cases. The Story

Aerosols Are The Answer (and the problem):

What happens when we cough, sneeze, talk, and sing. Guest Columnist

Name That Dragon - Vote Here:

Cast your vote. The Story

Letters: A Reason to Cancel:

An Ol' Front Porch Music Festival board member explains. Letters To The Editor

Ol’ Front Porch Music Festival 2020 Cancelled:

Unanimous Board Vote Cancels Event Due To Covid-19 Virus Concerns. The Story

COVID-19: It’s Not Just A Cough Anymore:

New symptoms & when to get help. Guest Columnist

Mr. June 2020 - Louis:

Canine embraces new retail career. Pet Of The Month

Face Masks Required For Retail & Restaurant Employees:

Governor Cooper cites increased levels of COVID-19 hospitilizations. The Story

A Dragon in Need of a Name:

Provision Co. Revives Oriental Tradition. The Story

Paula Winston, 1949 - 2020:

The heart & soul of the Inland Waterway Treasure Company. The Story

A Roof in Progress:

Two old roofs come down. The Story

Stubby Pencil Planning:

Reducing risk at sea. Captain's Blog

Roof Delays Brewery Reopening:

New Brewery has to fix century old roof. The Story

N.C. Ferry Service Schedules:

Cherry Branch / Minnesott Beach Ferry On Increased Schedule. The Story

Marlene Miller, 1946-2020:

Artist, educator, beloved wife. The Story

Fireworks and a July 4 Celebration Are Happening in Oriental:

It's Spirit Of Independence, July 3 & 4. The Story

Budget Hearing Brings out the Public:

Town Board Meeting Report June 2020. The Story

Golden Leaf Funds Approved For Oriental Road Repairs:

Private grant monies provide flexibility. The Story

Open Mic Night @ The Silos June 3:

One More Virtual Open Mic Night. The Story

SV Mudfog Cove Returns:

Waiting Out The Pandemic in Oriental. The Shipping News

Oriental United Methodist Church - May 31 Service Online:

Online from OUMC. The Story

Pirate Jam Plays To A Floating Audience:

Over 100 Boats and Hundreds Of Humans Off Teachs Cove. The Story

Oriental United Methodist Church - May 24 Service Online:

Online from OUMC. The Story

How To Stay Safe During Phase 2:

Celebrate but remain vigilant. Guest Columnist

Letters: Thank You From Hope Clinic:

Virtual Hope Regala Raised $125,000. Letters To The Editor

Living Art at Harbourside Gardens:

Planting at home. The Story

Governor Cooper Announces Phase Two - Restaurants Can Open With 50% Capacity :

The Stay-At-Home Order is lifted. The Story

Open Mic Night @ The Silos May 20:

Tonight's performance is dedicated to Marlene Miller. The Story

The 2020 Pirate Jam - Moved To Sunday May 24:

Listen on the water. The Story

Oriental United Methodist Church - May 17 Service Online:

Online from OUMC. The Story

Bombing Target Eleven (BT-11):

Military asset lights up the sky. Captain's Blog

Open Mic Night @ The Silos May 13:

Songs about chewin' tobacco and love. The Story



Rika was born in Manchester, England, but spent her life in Oriental. The Labradoodle passed away peacefully yesterday… alongside her humans Steve Leach and Betsy Quitkin. Rika had a long career chasing balls. Her life achievements include being named Miss July 2010. (Bernie Harberts photo)

Thursday August 13, 2020

2:24p Usually tropical storms & hurricanes begin as a low or disturbance offshore – often in the distant Atlantic off Africa. We are on the receiving end of these storms.

Today, an unusual switch. The rain clouds overhead – that’s a low pressure system. A tropical storm system may be developing – right over our heads. Here’s more info from the National Hurricane Center:

A low pressure area over eastern North Carolina is expected to move east-northeastward across the north Atlantic well to the south of New England and the Canadian Maritime provinces for the next several days. This system could acquire some subtropical or tropical characteristics during the next two to three days while it moves over warm sea surface temperatures.

If this would form – it would form offshore – and head east. We just get to be a stormy birthplace.

12:27p It’s now Tropical Storm Josephine (formerly Tropical Depression Eleven). This one is forecast to turn north and stay away from our coast… it may however visit Bermuda. Josephine is not expected to reach hurricane strength.

Tropical Storm Josephine Tracking Chart
Tropical Storm Josephine Forecasters Discussion
Tropical Storm Josephine Public Advisory

The longer term computer models all have JOH-seh-feen staying away – click for a look.

9:44a You may have seen workers building what looks like a small house on top of Garland Fulcher Seafood this week. It’s a new enclosure for the ice machine.

Ice is made inside and, with an assist from gravity, travels down a chute to the fish house below. Drone Orville went up for a closer look.


click for the big view and more

Wednesday August 12, 2020

1:52p There’s a virtual wine tasting Saturday from Nautical Wheelers. From Bill Wheeler:

I want to let you know that we have 4 of the Spanish Wine Tasting five bottle packages left. Lisa Bonet called yesterday, she is looking forward to talking with everyone about Wine in Spain.

Find out more about the event and listen to Lisa Bonet talk Spanish wines:

9:11a Monday’s forecast suggested a 50% chance of rain for the week. Today’s forecast adds thunder and lightning:

The text forecast has two important words: ‘thunderstorms likely’.

Oriental NC Forecast
Hurricane Center
Neuse River Marine Forecast
Pamlico Sound Marine Forecast
Newport Morehead City NC Weather Radar
TownDock streams NOAA Weather Radio Online

Tuesday August 11, 2020

5:03p Tropical Depression Eleven has been declared in Atlantic – far east of the Caribbean… 1450 miles east of the Lesser Antilles.

How far away is that in clear language? From Oriental, the center of Tropical Depression Eleven is 2,803 miles away.

The tropical system is expected to reach tropical storm strength (the next name is Josephine) – but then lose strength after several days.

Tropical Depression Eleven Tracking Chart
Tropical Depression Eleven Forecasters Discussion
Tropical Depression Eleven Public Advisory

2:58p And now there are eighty. From Pamlico County Emergency Management Director Chris Murray:

Two (2) new Positive COVID-19 Test results received today. Patients were tested on August 11th and have remained in Isolation and Quarantine since the test dates. Health Officials were able to clear One (1) Patient out of isolation and quarantine today.
Active Cases: 11. Recovered: 68. Deaths: 1. Total: 80.

The August 11 test date caught our eye – so confirmation was requested.

Correct, we are starting to see some “Rapid Test” results from various providers.

10:20a The following was released Friday by Town Hall. They are still closed, awaiting COVID test results on a close contact of a Town Hall employee.

Town Hall will be CLOSED to the Public pending COVID test results on a close contact of one of our employees. Thanks for your patience.
You can drop water payments and permit applications in our dropbox, email us at water@townoforiental.com, or call us at 252-249-0555.

9:53a At traditional wine tastings, you get to sip. You have to gently roll a teaspoon of wine around in your mouth, then make erudite comments about a lingering oaky aftertaste with a hint of caramel.

At virtual wine tastings, you get your own *&#% bottle. You can still comment on the buttery aroma, but no one will know if you make comments more fitting your personal lifestyle. “Hawt fire Emma, this would rock a bag fulla cheese fries.”

A virtual wine tasting is coming this Saturday – read on.

9:05a We might well have a tropical depression later today… Invest 95 is about ready to hatch. If we do, just about all the early models have the likely future storm Josephine staying out at sea.

What’s not to like?


(click image for larger view)

Meanwhile, here in river city, sunny & near 90 with a perennial 50% chance of rain.

Monday August 10, 2020

5:20p Invest 95 in the distant Atlantic has a 60% chance of becoming a tropical storm system. Early computer models are showing if it does become a storm, it may turn north before getting near the US coast:


(click image for larger view)

Hurricane Center

4:21p Six more coronavirus cases just announced. From Pamlico County Emergency Management:

Six (6) new Positive COVID-19 Tests result received today. Patients were tested over the last week and have remained in Isolation and Quarantine since the test dates. Health Officials were able to clear Nine (9) Patients out of isolation and quarantine today.

Active Cases: 10. Recovered: 67. Deaths: 1. Total: 78.

Data from the NC Department of Health shows 68 of the 78 cases. The newest case on the map is in zip code 28510.

(click map for larger view)

2:47p All that noise and no measurable amount of rain. Despite the lack of downpour, it did have some effects on the local weather.

Temperatures cooled rapidly – from 91 to 78 in less than an hour. As the temp went down, the wind picked up, topping out at 40 mph at 1:53p.


click for the big view

Graphs and local weather information come from the Oriental Weather Station.

10:14a The old home at the corner of South Water and Hodges Streets sits stripped of its asbestos shingles.

Though it housed many different families over the years, it is remembered to many as the Joe Cox house. Cox was an NC State professor and artist, and is, along with his wife Betsy, generally credited as the founder of the Oriental New Year’s Eve Dragon Run.

In recent years the house has fallen into disrepair. It will be demolished later this month.


click for the big house view

9:13a Hot. Humid. And not much of breeze.

Highs near 90 today, and through the rest of the week. There’s a 40% chance of rain today, and a 50% chance – or not – for the rest of the week. Winds are light (2 mph at 9a), becoming S at 10 mph later this afternoon.

Oriental NC Forecast
Neuse River Marine Forecast
Pamlico Sound Marine Forecast
Newport Morehead City NC Weather Radar
TownDock streams NOAA Weather Radio Online

Sunday August 9, 2020

4:00p Your Sunday corona cultural experience (thanks for the tip from Andy Denmark):

We now return to our regular lowbrow programming.

12:02p An earthquake in the news is a break from the more frequent challenge we get from Mother Nature. But alas, a potential storm is with us. Invest 95:


(click image for larger view)

The computer models show a track that could be a problem. However, at this moment Invest 95 has just a 20% (updated to 50%) chance of becoming a tropical storm system.

Upcoming storm names are all easier to say than the last one:

Josephine (JOH-seh-feen), Kyle (KY-ull), Laura (LOOR-ruh) and Marco (MAR-koe).

Oriental NC Forecast
Hurricane Center
Neuse River Marine Forecast
Pamlico Sound Marine Forecast
Newport Morehead City NC Weather Radar
TownDock streams NOAA Weather Radio Online

10:45a This morning’s online service from Oriental United Methodist Church is at this link.

9:35a An earthquake. From TownDock reader Scott Finch:

This morning at around 8am my wife and I were puzzled by our stilt house on the Bay River swaying in the wind….. but no wind. So next guess… a bear….wrong time of day and the bear is usually noisy and makes the dog bark. Then it hit us – EARTHQUAKE. So we did a google search and found a twitter feed of earthquake reports across NC. Breaking news…..earthquake in area.

According to USGS there was an earthquake 2 miles SE of Sparta, North Carolina at 8:07a this morning- magnitude 5.1. That isn’t a huge quake by the standards of some locations that get them more frequently, but by NC standards… this was a substantial quake. This morning’s earthquake is the largest in state history since a 5.2 magnitude quake in Skyland NC (in Buncombe County) in 1916.

Those in homes built on pilings (stilts) often can detect motion from distant quakes not noticed by “ground dwellers.”

Saturday August 8, 2020

8:41p A tropical disturbance in the far Atlantic. Just to keep an eye on it – it’s right here:

Showers and thunderstorms located a few hundred miles south of the Cabo Verde Islands are associated with a westward-moving tropical wave. Some slow development of this system is possible over the next few days as it crosses the tropical eastern Atlantic. By the middle of next week, environmental conditions are expected to become less favorable for development.
  • Formation chance through 48 hours…low…10 percent.
  • Formation chance through 5 days…low…20 percent.

12:20p Duke Energy power has been restored to the 119 homes on Whittaker Point Rd that were out of juice this morning.

10:17a A note from Lili Bacon:

Power out on Whittaker Point Rd. It went out a little before 8am…. Seems Duke is working nearby?

Checking with Duke Energy – 119 customers are without power in Oriental. Estimated repair by 11:15a.

7:22a You won’t quite be able to wear a sweater – but you’re getting a small thermal break today. Highs forecast just to get to the mid 80s.

Oriental NC Forecast
Neuse River Marine Forecast
Pamlico Sound Marine Forecast
Newport Morehead City NC Weather Radar
TownDock streams NOAA Weather Radio Online

Friday August 7, 2020

6:20p. Mac McWilliams plays the Red Rooster Bar tonight, starting at 7p. Maybe if you ask him nice he’ll play some Billy Jean.

5:55p. A week from tomorrow Nautical Wheelers is having an online wine tasting. This time you get to travel to Spain – from your Oriental La-Z-Boy. Lisa Bonet will be hosting the event on Zoom… she talks wine here:

To join get your box of the 5 Spanish wines. Each box comes with Tasting Notes and Zoom instructions. Available at Nautical Wheelers in Oriental and New Bern, or online at nauticalwheelersnc.com.

4:58p. One more case. From Pamlico County Emergency Management:

One (1) new Positive COVID-19 Test result received today. Patient was tested on August 7th and has remained in Isolation and Quarantine since the test date. Health Officials were able to clear One (1) Patient out of isolation and quarantine today.
Active Cases: 13. Recovered: 58. Deaths: 1. Total: 72.

State data has 67 of the now 72 cases.

12:16p More Town Hall. This on a somewhat lighter note relating to the 10:48a post below:

Boat owner found- left there for the storm- was busy cleaning up- will pick it up this weekend.

11:25a From Town Hall:

Town Hall will be CLOSED to the Public pending COVID test results on a close contact of one of our employees. Thanks for your patience.
You can drop water payments and permit applications in our dropbox, email us at water@townoforiental.com, or call us at 252-249-0555.

10:48a Oriental has large recycling bins at the edge of town near the recreation area off Straight Rd. Some folks (unfortunately) use these bins as trash drops… but today’s discovery is a new milestone.

This morning an abandoned sailboat on a trailer was found at the recycling area. It seems unlikely it will qualify as glass, aluminum or cardboard. Here’s the boat:


(Ken Laser photo)

Note town recycling coordinator Joe Valinotti at right, displaying his native New Jersey hand communication skills. Whomever dropped it off left the state numbers on it, so they may be getting a call.

10:07a From Sharon Breitling at the Oriental History Museum:

Lou and I have decided to open the museum, with restrictions, starting this weekend. With more visitors coming to town we want to offer another opportunity to enjoy what the Oriental has to offer.
The exhibit on World War I continues through September with photos, highlights of the war, and memorabilia on loan from several area residents. Over thirty Oriental men went off to the “Great War” and thankfully all returned but one, Louis Mann.

New Museum Hours: Friday 11a – 1p, Saturday 1 – 4p. Masks & social distancing required.

8:55a It was blowing 56 mph a few days ago. A calm weekend may be suitable break. On the Neuse, 5-10 knots today and Saturday, an even more tranquil 5 knots Sunday.

Partly sunny, highs around 90, and the ever present chance of afternoon showers today. The same forecast continues through the weekend and next week.

This weekend was going to be the 3rd annual Bow To Stern Regatta, however the event has been cancelled.

8:46a From pelican award-winning Town Manager Diane Miller
We will be picking up the last of Isaias debris today.
The Pamlico County landfill is open an extra hour Saturday until 4pm, as well as debris can be taken to the green waste dumpsters at the Oriental town water plant. Please ensure debris brought to the water plant is not in bags and measures no more than 4’ in length and 6” in diameter. Thank you…
Extra points if you can pronounce “Isaias debris.”

8:28a TownDock published a story on this week’s Oriental Town Meeting yesterday. After stories go online readers write in – sometimes with compliments – sometimes grumpy. So when an email showed up minutes after publication, TownDock crew were hopeful that enclosed was journalistic praise or inquiry. Perhaps a question about insight into the workings of a village democracy.

We opened the email.
In the article:
Oysters Are Coming, Dilapidated Houses Are Going
There is the pelican award for the town mayor. Can you find out where they got the pelican and let me know.

This is the exact pelican my wife wants for our yard.

Sigh. An investigation into the origins of the Town Manager’s new concrete pelican will ensue.
Thursday August 6, 2020
3:29p Two new COVID cases. From Pamlico County Emergency Management:
Two (2) new Positive COVID-19 Test results received over the last 24 hours. Patients were tested on July 31st and have remained in Isolation and Quarantine since the test dates. Health Officials were able to clear Four (4) Patients out of isolation and quarantine today.

Active Cases: 13. Recovered: 57. Deaths: 1. Total: 71

State data has 67 of the 71 cases.

3:24p A COVID-19 testing site? Oyster shells. Whittaker Point Restoration… and a concrete pelican. It’s all in the Town Meeting Report.

3:01p Here’s a forecast you can rely on:


performed by The Delorean Sisters

2:33p TownDock is not a fan of seasonal hurricane forecasts. They seem little more than headline fodder. Today’s NOAA news release re-enforced that.

The headline is:

Extremely active hurricane season possible for Atlantic Basin

It already is an extremely active season. It’s early August – we just got visited by Isaias – the 9th name storm of 2020.

Historically, the ninth named storm typically doesn’t form until early October. The pace so far is two months ahead of normal. So a headline that reads:

Extremely active hurricane season possible for Atlantic Basin

Is rather like:

Sunrise possible Saturday

While we may be dubious of seasonal forecasts – once a storm has formed NOAA’s data is outstanding.

The waters of the Atlantic are warm. More storms will be forming. If a storm threatens eastern North Carolina, TownDock.net will cover its forecast track. And if it lands – we’ll cover what happens as it happens – and after. We do this relentlessly.

12:44p It’s cool today. OK, how about cooler. The forecast now just in the mid 80s. Enjoy the semi-cool while you can – it’s back to a high near 90 every day starting Friday.

11:03a Ocracoke was evacuated for Hurricane Isaias. Now, residents are trying to get back. To assist with the return, NC DOT is adding a night run to Ocracoke – this weekend only. But passengers will need a reservation.
ferry logo TIn order to ease travel to and from Ocracoke Island this upcoming weekend, the N.C. Ferry System will be adding a night run to and from Swan Quarter this Saturday and Sunday only.

Ocracoke to Cedar Island: 7:30a.
Cedar Island to Ocracoke: 10:30a
Ocracoke to Swan Quarter: 1:30p. and 7:30p.
Swan Quarter to Ocracoke: 4:30p. and 10:30p.

Reservations for the added runs online at www.ncferry.org or by calling 1-800-BY-FERRY. On Monday, the ferry goes back to its one-run schedule while dredging in Bigfoot Slough continues.

9:02a Bow to Stern Boating had a lot of work to do to secure their fleet for Hurricane Isaias’ visit this Monday. After all that storm prep, getting the sailing fleet ready for this weekend’s regatta was more than could happen in a few short days.

The Bow To Stern Regatta scheduled for Aug 8 & 9 has been cancelled.

8:31a Near 90 today and a 40% chance of rain. Yesterday’s storms dropped about 3/4 inch of rain with high winds at 26 mph. The high wind so far today? 5 mph, recorded just after midnight.

On the Neuse, SE winds 5-10 knots.

Oriental NC Forecast
Neuse River Marine Forecast
Pamlico Sound Marine Forecast
Newport Morehead City NC Weather Radar
TownDock streams NOAA Weather Radio Online

Wednesday August 5, 2020

6:19p Now 65 Pamlico County cases in the NC COVID dashboard. The two new cases are in zip codes 28523 and 28560.

1:11p Major re-write:

dark and stormy day

12:56p Oriental has seen a lot of houses get raised in the wake of flooding. This time the raising and the installation might be the same.

This morning, the Superior Crane Company installed a building at the corner of Hodges St. and S. Water St. by hoisting it onto pilings… well above any potential storm waters.

There were a few false starts as beams and straps were adjusted. Eventually, the crew maneuvered everything to their liking and the crane lifted the structure gently skyward. You can see their progress here.



click pics for larger view of a building in motion.

A sign on the fence states the elevated building will be the new home of ‘Serendipity Spa’.

ferry logo 9:33a The Minnesott Beach – Cherry Branch Ferry is back in operation.
Cherry Branch Ferry is on schedule and on time. Come ride with us.

town hall sign 8:07a At last night’s Town Board Meeting, commissioners discussed a proposition to have a COVID testing site in Oriental, saw updates about the Whittaker Point Restoration project, and gifted Town Manager Diane Miller with a plaque and a stone pelican for her work on the Whittaker Point Restoration project. Story coming. Pamlico County Fishes and Loaves is distributing food today. From Eileen Miles:
Pamlico County Fishes and Loaves Outreach Food Pantry (PCFLO) will be distributing food tomorrow, Wednesday August 5 from St. Peter the Fishermen Catholic church. The mobile food truck will arrive about 10 AM. Line up to receive food begins at 9 AM in the parking lot. Only requirement is you need to be a resident of Pamlico County. Anyone needing food is welcome.
Tuesday August 4, 2020
8:22p Most of town had power restored earlier in the day. But there were exceptions. Missy Tenhet writes in:
Power just fixed two blocks away. Civilization and air conditioning is back!
Duke Energy’s outage map shows just 13 locations remain in Oriental that are waiting for power. Tideland is down to 2,405 eastern NC locations to fix. That sounds like a lot, but they started the day with over 14,000.

5:47p There are 65 COVID cases in Pamlico County, 63 of which are now in data from the NC DHHS dashboard. The new zip code map adds three new cases – all in 28515: (click map for larger view)

2:27p John Rahm reports power is back at Dolphin Point. Duke Energy now shows 134 customers in Oriental waiting for power to be restored.

Tideland is making progress, now 6,046 locations in eastern NC with power out. That’s down from over 14,000 earlier today.

12:50p Duke’s outage map is now showing 642 176 customers out in the Oriental area. Internet and phones are back at Town Hall. Power is back at Nautical Wheelers. Power and net have been restored at TownDock HQ.

Isaias is haulin’ north at 35 mph, now in New Jersey / Pennsylvania.

12:30p Duke Energy has power restored for customers in the Merritt area. There remain 232 locations in Oriental without power. Tideland has restored power to about 5,000 eastern NC locations – they still have 9,451 to fix.

12:10p Power restored at The Silos – they are now fully open for dine in and take out. M&Ms Cafe is open as normal for dine in and take out.

11:15a The Silos is open, pizza take out only. Their phones are back, 252-249-1050.

A lot of businesses in town have converted their phones to Spectrum internet. Spectrum’s net service is excellent, but the phone service is a problem when the net goes down. The phone goes down with it. So there are businesses in town that are open, but can’t take a call.

11:07a TownDock personnel were feeling superior, blessed with both power and internet. But alas, we have joined the camping crowd. Power & internet went out about 20 minutes ago. Pull start power has been restored. Phone hotspots are working.

11:02a Nautical Wheelers is open:
Camilla and Bill are at Nautical Wheelers, putting the Polywood furniture back into the yard and picking up sticks. We will be open until 4:00pm today and able to accept cash and credit cards with the mobile card reader. FYI, a Duke Energy truck is in front of Village Realty, Duke is on the job in Oriental.

10:53a Town Hall has power and air conditioning. That bodes well for tonight’s monthly Town Board meeting. Tonight the Board will discuss an offer from Kenny Heath to set up a COVID testing site in Oriental and look at a draft ordinance proposal for dilapidated structures in town. That draft ordinance will go before the Planning Board on the 19th.

View tonight’s agenda here. The Board meets in the large board room at town hall at 7p tonight.

ferry logo8:45a No Cherry Branch / Minnesott Beach ferry today. The high south winds of storm Isaias have left water levels so low the ramps won’t meet the boats safely.

Sue Kinner says the ferry is probably down for all of today, and it will depend on water height conditions whether they can resume operations Wednesday morning.

Most of Oriental has no power this morning, but some locations have power. Oriental Deli is open and serving. The Provision Company has power. Village Hardware is open. The Piglet always has power (thanks to a huge generator). TownDock World HQ is blessed with volts and amps.

8:02a Tropical Storm Isaias is moving at 33 mph NNE, just about to visit the Chesapeake right now. Still with 70 mph winds – almost hurricane strength.

Here in post-storm Oriental, a sunny 90 degree day is ahead.

Oriental NC Forecast
Neuse River Marine Forecast
Pamlico Sound Marine Forecast
Newport Morehead City NC Weather Radar

The NOAA Newport NC folks are still chattering about a surge warning. They may need an education on surge. A storm to our west wasn’t going to cause surge, it didn’t surge, and it ain’t gonna surge.

7:31a A view of Isaias spinning up the coast:

7:25a Is your power out? Are you grumpy? Town Hall has power (and air conditioning) – but no internet or phones. From Diane at Town Hall:
Folks are welcome to come charge their devices or just step into the air conditioning as it heats up. We’re out doing damage assessment now and will let you know what we find. Also, there is little debris out there. If people want to take debris to the water plant and put it in the green waste dumpster UNTIL IT IS FULL they can. Sticks max 4 ft long. We’ll have the dumpsters switched out as often as it takes.

Somehow, at TownDock World Headquarters the power is on, the internet is flowing and the phones work. It’s nice having a halo.

6:40a You’ve survived. Best keep it that way. From Town Hall:
Please consider resisting the urge to go sightseeing at first light. We need to assess damage. Also to stay away from any downed lines- some may still be live.

6:17a It is officially sunrise. It’s a bit wet, and mostly without power – but town is still here.

5:46a The high wind from Storm Isaias visit, 56 mph at 3:13a. A total of 2.15 inches of rain.

Isaias left an imprint. This morning most of Oriental is without power. Duke Energy lists 839 local customers with power out, ranging from Merritt to Oriental. They don’t list an expected repair time yet. The 839 local outages are part of 185 thousand power outages Duke Energy has across North Carolina in the wake of Isaias.

In Pamlico County outside of Oriental, Tideland Electric is the primary power provider. Across eastern North Carolina Tideland serves 22,851 customers. Of that 22,851 total, 13,329 are without power.

5:21a At 5a, the outer bands of Isaias are still with us, but with modest effect. The storm’s center has almost departed our fair state – about 15 miles southeast of Roanoke Rapids, 85 miles WSW of Norfolk. Max winds 70 mph, and Isaias is hauling north at 28 mph.

Tropical Storm Isaias Tracking Chart
Tropical Storm Isaias Forecasters Discussion
Tropical Storm Isaias Public Advisory
Detailed Storm Isaias track – local view

3:22a Tideland now lists 8,764 locations with power out. That’s out of a total 22,851 they serve power to. Ouch.

Duke Energy lists 839 local locations without power, from Merritt to Oriental.

3:14a There is some impressive breeze right now. 56 mph a few minutes ago – a new high wind for the night.

3:00a Isaias peak winds are down – just a bit. Now at 70 mph, Iasias is no longer a hurricane. But Tropical Storm Isaias still has power – winds are bouncing between the 20s to the upper 40s in Oriental. Storm Isaias is currently at 35.5°N 78.0°W, moving at an impressively fast 24 mph NNE.

From the Oriental Weather Station:


click image for larger view

2:25a Greg Gallagher reports power out near Dawsons Creek. Tideland’s eastern NC outage # has grown to 2,876. A long Tuesday is ahead for power crews. While Duke’s local outage number remains at 785, they list over 125,000 homes without power in Wilmington NC.

A new high wind # – 53 mph at 2:12a.

2:07a Bill Wheeler reports power out at both Pineview and Nautical Wheelers on Broad St. Chris Moffat reports power out on Styron Drive. Looking around town from the TownDock.net HQ perch, it appears power is off at most “downtown” locations. Duke Energy lists 785 local homes without power. Tideland shows over 2,600 of their customers without power (for Tideland that’s over their entire eastern NC customer base).

Somehow, power is still on for TownDock.

2:00a Isaias remains a hurricane, but max winds have reduced to 75 mph. Current location 35.0°N 78.1°W, about 60 miles southwest of Greenville, NC. The storm is moving NNE at 23 mph (that’s fast).

Power is flickering on and off at TownDock HQ… but it is still on.

1:51a High wind so far: 47 mph just a minute ago.

Oriental NC Forecast
Oriental Weather Station

1:46a Power is out at some locations in town. Frank Roe reports:
Power out 502 South Ave at 1:07 AM. On generator now.

Duke Energy reports 785 homes now without power from Merritt to Oriental. Power is still on at TownDock HQ near the harbor… but that generator is standing by.

12:31a High wind since midnight – 42 mph. It’s crankin’ out there right now.

12:26a Power is still on, but flickering lights have begun.

TownDock Power & Light (pull start generator) has been tested and is standing by.

12:05a Here’s a local forecast not often seen:

Overnight…Tropical storm conditions. Southeast winds 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph, increasing to 40 to 50 mph with gusts up to 65 mph.

Monday August 3, 2020

11:37p New high wind a few minutes ago – 38mph. That number will likely be rising overnight.

11:32p The Oriental Weather Station has winds east at 30 mph right now. Strong east winds will rise water levels. That said, the winds will not likely stay east for very long. As Hurricane Isaias moves north (and is to our west) the winds will become southeast and then south winds.

Once the winds are south, that will lower local water levels.

11:08p Above, the eye is in clear view on weather radar. Below, watch Isaias travel north towards us.

10:58p Hurricane Isaias has good news, and bad news. The challenging news – Isaias now has 85 mph peak winds. The good? Isaias is moving at a screaming fast 22 mph. The storm’s center is basically at the NC/SC border – just 25 miles ENE of Myrtle Beach. 50 miles SW of Wilmington NC.

Expect strong winds off Isaias right side as it passes by overnight. Locally, the highest winds are forecast to be between 2a and 3a.

Tropical Storm Isaias Tracking Chart
Tropical Storm Isaias Forecasters Discussion
Tropical Storm Isaias Public Advisory
Detailed Storm Isaias track – local view

Oriental NC Forecast
Neuse River Marine Forecast
Pamlico Sound Marine Forecast
Newport Morehead City NC Weather Radar
Southeast Weather Radar

8:18p Hurricanes and tropical storms often visit at inconvenient hours. TownDock.net will be staying up for this storm, reporting local conditions and experiences through the night.

Here’s the NOAA GOES satellite view of Hurricane Isaias:

8:05p The outer rain bands of Hurricane Isaias delivered about 1/2” of rain a couple hours ago. The NOAA/NHC rain forecast for our area is 1-2 inches for the duration of the storm. That is rather mild for a hurricane visit, but the core track of Isaias will be well west of us.

When will peak Hurricane Isaias storm impact be? Likely 2a – 3a in and near Oriental. Maximum tropical storm force winds in the 40s are possible, with gusts to 60 mph. It will be mostly gone a few hours after that. Moving now at 16 mph (and forecast to increase that speed) our time with Isaias will be brief.

Hurricane Isaias eastern NC route:

7:55p While the Isaias forecast seemed to bounce around a few days ago, since late Saturday it has been rock solid consistent. The storm is now Hurricane Isaias – as forecast. 75 mph peak winds. Location 32.8N 79.0W, that’s about 60 miles south of Myrtle Beach. The storm is moving fast at 16 mph.

5:00p Excellent news – Isaias is moving fast. Now NNE at 16 mph. The faster the storm moves through, the more brief our storm experience and less storm impact. Isaias remains a tropical storm with 70 mph max winds. It is forecast to reach 75 mph hurricane strength later tonight before landfall near the NC/SC border.

Isaias is now 120 miles SSW of Myrtle Beach. The putt putt course is almost in sight.

4:02p No banking Tuesday morning:
Due to Hurricane Isaias, First Citizens Bank Oriental will be closed Tuesday morning, August 4th. Our tentative re-opening time is at 12pm, weather permitting.

2:37p Preparing for the storm. Most folks around Oriental are experienced at it. Some tie up their boats. Some haul their boats. TownDock visited local boatyards for this report.

2:01p The 2p Isaias update – no change. 70 mph peak winds. Marching north at 13 mph. Still forecast to strengthen to hurricane status before landfall tonight near the NC/SC border.

Now 115 miles south of Charleston SC, 180 miles south of Myrtle Beach.

NHC (the National Hurricane Center) has us in a 1-2 inch rain prediction area. Our local NOAA office in Newport NC is even more specific, put Oriental & Pamlico County in a 1 to 1.5 inch zone.

1:32p Just announced – SIX new coronavirus cases in Pamlico County:
Six (6) new Positive COVID-19 Test results received over the last 48 hours. Patients were tested on July 27th, 29th and July 31st, and all have remained in Isolation and Quarantine since the test dates.
Active Cases: 11. Recovered: 53. Deaths: 1. Total: 65.

Data from the NC Department of Health and Human Services dashboard shows 60 of the 65 cases. New cases in today’s data are in zip codes 28515, 28529 and 28560:

(click map for larger view)

1:20p NCDOT has evacuated over 3,500 people from Ocracoke:
ferry logoOver the course of the evacuation that began Friday, the North Carolina Ferry System evacuated 3,538 people and 1,710 vehicles from Ocracoke on the Hatteras, Cedar Island and Swan Quarter routes. Ferries and ferry employees will now be staged in safe harbor areas to await the resumption of service once the storm passes.

12:40p. Here’s the latest Isaias briefing document from NOAA Newport, NC.

11:05 The 11a update has Isaias still as a 70 mph tropical storm – but is forecast to make landfall tonight as a hurricane. Isaias is at 30.7N 80.1W, 90 miles ESE of Brunswick, GA, 220 miles SSW of Myrtle Beach. The storm is gaining speed (this is a good thing), now moving N at 13 mph.

The track west of us means little surge in our area. However, the right side of Isaias is expected to have powerful winds. Here’s NOAA’s forecast of maximum sustained winds in eastern North Carolina.

With Isaias passing to our left, these winds would be primarily from the south and southwest. Winds at these forces have real potential for downed trees and power outages.

10:28a The ferry will stop running this afternoon. From Operations Manager Michael Merrill at Cherry Branch:
ferry logoCherry Branch will be shutting down operations this afternoon at approximately 2:00pm in preparation for Hurricane Isaias. The last departure from the Cherry Branch side will be at 1:30pm with the last departure from Minnesott Beach leaving at 2:00pm on Monday. Storm conditions will most likely effect the schedule for Tuesday as well.

With Oriental now being under a tropical storm warning, both town docks are closed.


(click pic for the big view)

9:26a It’s the view from space. NOAA’s GOES East satellite… Isaias track from the Caribbean to the Florida coast:

8:50a Wind, surge, rain. Hurricane or tropical storm? It’s all in the latest Isaias update from NHC. No locusts though.

8:02 Isaias is offshore Florida, about 100 miless ESE of Jacksonville, FL, or 250 miles SSW of Myrtle Beach. Peak winds remain at 70 mph, but are forecast to become 75 mph today – restoring the storm’s title – Hurricane Iasias.

We’ll get some rain, but we are in an area predicted for just 1 – 2 inches:

Here’s the Isaias briefing document from NOAA Newport, NC.

5:55a Tropical Storm Isaias is just off St Augustine, FL, and heading out over warm Atlantic waters bound for Myrtle Beach. The storm has 70 mph winds… it is forecast to pick up a little steam on it’s way north, potentially arriving at the NC/SC border with 75 mph winds. If so, Isaias would be a category one hurricane.

As it’s passing to our west the storm is expected to have peak 65 mph winds, with gusts to 80. How much of that we feel is TBD, but Isaias is expected to have a large wind field on it’s right – and that’s where we will be. Tropical storm winds (35 mph plus) are likely in Oriental and Pamlico County.

Sunday August 2, 2020
10:55p Isaias still has 70 mph winds, moving NNW at 9 mph. NHC notes that as the storm approaches the Carolinas:
Isaias will be traversing the warm waters of the Gulf Stream with its high oceanic heat content. The latter factor could result in the system becoming a hurricane near landfall. The official forecast is close to the intensity consensus, which keeps Isaias just below hurricane strength.
If it stays at 70 mph it’s a tropical storm. At 75 mph or above, it’s a hurricane. What’s the difference? Not much. From NHC:
It should be emphasized that there is little difference between a strong tropical storm or a category 1 hurricane, in terms of impacts.
town hall sign7:14p The Town Of Oriental has officially declared a State Of Emergency due to the impending arrival of Tropical Storm Isaias – it was signed by Mayor Belangia at 7p tonight. It basically states that town police are:
authorized to deny or restrict any person access to any area, street, highway, or location in the Town of Oriental which is reasonably necessary to promote efforts being made to overcome the emergency or to prevent further aggravation of the emergency.

To see the complete document click here.

This may be the most modest storm (it is no longer a hurricane) where the town has declared a state of emergency, however there is a real concern re potentially tropical storm force winds & tornado formation on the right side of Isaias. While surge isn’t likely, some downed trees and power outages wouldn’t be a surprise.

Y’all play nice now.

5:41p NHC’s Ken Graham talks about storm warnings & watches, plus potential surge from Tropical Storm Isaias:

FYI, NOAA/NHC isn’t attempting to predict surge at specific locations. Their 1-3 ft for the entire NC coast plus the Pamlico Sound / Neuse River just implies a maximum surge event. With the current forecast track, Oriental is unlikely to see much surge at all.

That said, we may see some tropical storm force winds. More on that below.

4:55p Storm Isaias powers up a bit – 70 mph (just 5 mph below hurricane strength). Despite this wind uptick, Isaias is not forecast to regain hurricane strength. Now off the east central Florida coast, moving north-northwest at 9 mph.

The forecast track has moved slightly east – but not enough to change the forecast for Oriental. The landfall has moved north – now targeted near Myrtle Beach and the NC/SC border.

Tropical Storm Isaias Tracking Chart
Tropical Storm Isaias Forecasters Discussion
Tropical Storm Isaias Public Advisory

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:
• Sebastian Inlet Florida to Ocracoke Inlet North Carolina

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:
• Ocracoke Inlet North Carolina to Watch Hill Rhode Island
• Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds

Oriental & Pamlico County is under a tropical storm watch. Beaufort & Morehead City is now under a tropical storm warning. A “watch” is an alert for the potential for severe weather. A “warning” means severe weather is imminent or occurring.

2:38p A video update… NHC Director Ken Graham explains the strong winds on the right side of Tropical Storm Isaias – strong winds that we may be getting:

2:04p At 2p Storm Isaias is moving NNW at 9 mph, max winds 65 mph. The forecast track described above and below continues. If you’re in Oriental, the Isaias forecast is looking relatively well.

If you’re in Myrtle Beach, not so much.

Rain? We’re near the line between a 2-4 inch prediction band and a 1-2 inch area:

12:52p Good news from Diane at Town Hall:
Trash & Recycling WILL be picked up Monday.

11:00a The 11a Storm Isiaias update – no forecast change. Still predicted to come ashore between Charleston and Myrtle Beach SC. Still predicted to take an inland path way west of us… passing over Rocky Mount NC on its way north.

While local surge is not a concern from this forecast – winds are.

We have greater than a 50% probability of seeing tropical storm force winds. The Neuse and Pamlico Sound marine forecasts predict those winds… 30-35 knots forecast for Monday night and Tuesday.

Neuse River Marine Forecast
Pamlico Sound Marine Forecast

10:30a Earlier this morning Oriental United Methodist Church returned to having outdoor services at Lou Mac Park. For those that can’t attend the outdoor service online services will continue – OUMC streams today’s Sunday morning service from the sanctuary.

9:03a Now that Isaias forecast track has moved west, we have almost learned to say Isaias. Ken Graham (see below) has been an excellent instructor.

Good news re upcoming storm names… no pronunciation problems. The next names on deck: Josephine, Kyle and Laura.

8:50a Ken Graham at the National Hurricane Center has a video update on Storm Isaias:

8:02a The 8a update for storm Isaias: Location 26.5°N 79.5°W, moving northwest at 8 mph, max winds 65 mph.

No change in the forecast track. See information above and below.

6:05a Saturday dumped 2 inches of rain on Oriental. Today sunny and low 90s – just a 20% chance of an afternoon shower.

While Monday night and Tuesday may see tropical storm conditions on the Neuse, today an easy 5-10 knot south winds.

5:15a From our perspective in Oriental NC, the storm Isaias news is positive. Isaias remains at tropical storm power (now 65 mph) – and now isn’t forecast to ever regain hurricane strength. The track has trended even farther west, now targeting a path that takes it close to Wilson/Rocky Mount on it’s inland route north.

We still may see some tropical storm force winds on this forecast route, however surge would not be an issue for our area. The Neuse and Pamlico Sound marine forecasts underscore the potential winds… 30-35 knots is forecast for Monday night and Tuesday.