Hurricane Sandy proved little more than a weekend washout for Havelock-area residents.
“We got very lucky I think,” said Diane Miller, spokeswoman for the city of Havelock.
“We were prepared and I think the citizens were prepared.”
No major damage or problems were reported in the city. Some tree limbs were down, but there were no major power outages.
According to the National Weather Service office in Newport, the highest wind gust was 48 mph at Cherry Point at 6:50 a.m. Sunday while Sandy was churning past the state more than 200 miles off the coast.
Sustained northeasterly winds pushed the waters of Pamlico Sound into the Neuse River and causing minor flooding in places.
“Adams Creek road probably had about two inches of water on it, but it was passable,” said Jeremy Brown, Chief of the Harlowe Volunteer Fire Department. “Water stayed between the sea walls and the river. We had a little bit of spray.”
Brown said there was no damage to residents at Great Neck, which is on the Neuse River in eastern Craven County.
“We had a couple of tree limbs across the road, but it did not make the road impassable,” Brown said. “We didn’t have any storm surge at all.”
Sandy didn’t produce the kinds of widespread damage that Hurricane Irene did in August of 2011 here.
“It wasn’t comparable at all. It was mild,” Brown said. “With Irene, we had five, six and seven feet of storm surge sustained for five or six hours. This was a relatively uneventful event.”
The water did get high enough to suspend ferry operations across the Neuse River between Cherry Branch and Minnesott Beach. The last boat was at 5:45 p.m. Saturday. “We had about six feet more water than we usually have. That’s why we shut down,” said Sue Kinner with the N.C. Ferry Division. “We could not get the boats under the ramp. The boats were floating too high.”
Kinner said the water level had fallen such that the Cherry Branch-Minnesott Beach route could resume services at 8:45 a.m. Monday.
Craven County Schools were delayed two hours Monday morning, giving officials a chance to assess road conditions and check for any damage to structures. Havelock did cancel its Operation Safe Halloween, which had been scheduled for Sunday.
Havelock did report a short power outage at the city’s wastewater treatment plant and at a lift station Sunday, but generators were used until the power came back on. A brief power outage was reported on Park Lane after a power line fell Sunday about noon.
“It appears that the city weathered the storm event well with little or no problems,” Havelock City Manager Jim Freeman said.
Miller said the city never opened its emergency operations center, though it had been set it up just in case. She said there were no reports of downed trees on roadways or roadways closed due to flooding.
“This storm wasn’t an Irene like pounding rain for 24 to 36 hours,” she said. “It was a steady manageable rain for that period of time. It was sustained longer than a storm usually is for us but it wasn’t as strong as Irene was.”
As of 11 a.m. Monday, just 2.21 inches of rain fell at Cherry Point, according to the National Weather Service, far below initial predictions of 4 to 7 inches of rain.
Sandy was headed toward a landfall along the New Jersey coast on Monday, but the Havelock area was still experiencing cloudy and windy conditions. The weather service expects windy conditions, with gusts possibly up to 40 mph, to persist through Wednesday.