Eastern North Carolina experienced the lower end of predicted rain accumulation and wind gusts from Hurricane Dorian.
Early on Friday, as Dorian sped off northeast, the region remained largely free of flooding and wind damage.
According to National Weather Service Meteorologist Robert Frederick, the highest rain total for ENC was out of New Bern with 7.36 inches. In an unspecified area seven miles southwest of Kinston, 6.69 inches were reported. Holly Ridge and Sneads Ferry saw about 6.04 inches of rain. There were 5.72 inches of rain reported in Kinston and 5.65 in Jacksonville.
Prior to the storm, The Daily News reported, rain totals were expected to be from 6 to 10 inches with 15 inches in some areas.
“We were saying 6-10 and a good number of sites did get more than 6 inches,” Frederick said of the pre-storm predictions.
The highest wind gusts recorded for ENC were in Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point at 70 mph, according to Frederick. Jacksonville reported wind gusts of 62 mph, Kinston reported 54 mph and New Bern reported 48 mph.
The sustained wind speed for a category 2 hurricane is 111 mph or higher, The Daily News reported. But Dorian’s core appeared to stay offshore as it passed by the area early Friday.
“The hurricane started accelerating and moving quicker northeast once it reached North Carolina,” Frederick said.
According to Frederick, this spared the area a lot of flooding.
The only reports of flooding were from low-lying areas, and according to Frederick, those should recede rather quickly.
Most of the damages reported throughout ENC were tornado-related, according to Frederick.
“A few touched down in Onslow County,” Frederick said. “We had a lot of them over a good chunk of the area.”
At about 12 p.m. on Thursday, the NWS got reports of a tornado on the ground 3 miles west of Sneads Ferry. At about 1 p.m. the same day, a tornado was reported 1 mile southeast of Hubert. At about 4:30 p.m. Thursday there was a tornado reported 2 miles northwest of Deep Run in Lenoir County. And at about 5 p.m. Thursday a tornado caused some minor damage near City Hall in New Bern.
According to Tony Saavedra, observer program leader at the NWS, the tornadoes themselves were not unusual. There were a fair number of tornado spottings during Florence as well.
“The amount that there were in one period was unusual,” Saavedra said. “That’s the only thing that I would consider unusual.”
Tornadoes often happen in advance of hurricanes, according to Saavedra, because bands of showers spin around the hurricane and encounter resistance from structures and winds lower on the ground.
“When winds slow down on account of resistance they tend to ‘back,’” Saaverda said, using a meteorologist term for winds spinning counterclockwise.
Ahead of Dorian, Saavedra explained, there were many bands of showers moving in and all had “pretty good” thunderstorms going.
“There was enough triggers for all these things to happen altogether,” Saavedra said.
The area remains under a hurricane warning this morning as Hurricane Dorian passes close to Cape Lookout.
“The center is just east of Core Banks and could make landfall at Cape Hatteras but we’re not sure yet,” said Meteorologist Carl Barnes with the National Weather Service office in Newport.
As it makes its pass, Carteret County and areas north, including the Outer Banks, are seeing the worst conditions this morning, according to Meteorologist John Elardo.
However, all of Eastern North Carolina is still seeing the effects of Hurricane Dorian.
Storm surge warning remains in effect, including for the New Bern area and Jones County.