Editorial: Celebrating freedom on the Fourth - or Fifth

Published: Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 04:56 PM.

This Independence Day had all the makings of a great one. After all, the Fourth of July fell on a Friday, setting everyone up for a three-day weekend of fun and fireworks.

Then, Hurricane Arthur began to take aim at Havelock, and a little bit of chaos mixed with celebration plans.

Arthur’s threat was much worse than reality. In essence, the Havelock area got a couple of breaks, the biggest of which was the storm’s fast movement. At landfall in neighboring Carteret County, Arthur was moving at 21 mph, fast for a hurricane and so fast that the area endured the worst of the storm for about only five or six hours. The quick-moving storm didn’t have the time to drop flooding rains, nor did it produce long periods of high winds that eventually just wear down trees and structures.

Also, Arthur was not a direct hit on the Havelock area. Some late forecast models had the eye going right over Havelock, but instead it slipped a few miles east of us, sparing the city the highest winds.

Still, many areas of the city lost electricity, but credit goes to the power crews for getting it restored quickly, and we have to give credit to Havelock police officers who manned intersections to direct drivers around inoperable traffic signals.

And then we should give credit to the city’s public works employees who were out quickly on Friday morning assessing damage. They also went to work clearing Havelock City Park and Walter B. Jones Park of storm debris so the city’s Fourth of July Freedom Festival could take place — even if a day late.

We believe the city made the right choice on postponing the event for a day as a precaution. Rather than having people without power and without access to the Internet guessing as to if the event would take place the day after a hurricane, the city made the decision early to postpone it. That meant that everyone had that information available before the storm hit.

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