'Mostly a wind event' at Wrightsville Beach as Isaias moves through NC
Posted August 3, 2020 6:30 a.m. EDT
Updated August 4, 2020 3:43 a.m. EDT
Atlantic Beach, N.C. — Hurricane Isaias made landfall after 11 p.m. near Ocean Isle Beach.
Unlike many hurricanes, which majorly impact the North Carolina coast, Isaias' center moved up Interstate 95, dropping heavy rains mostly in the Sandhills and areas like Goldsboro, Rocky Mount and Fayetteville.
Rain fell at the coast overnight, but gusty winds, storm surge and dangerous rip currents were the main concerns.
WRAL's Amanda Lamb reported damage to homes at Wrightsville Beach appeared "superficial" at 3 a.m. Tuesday, with some siding damaged and strewn outdoor furniture, but we will know more once the sun comes out.
Debris, mostly tree branches, covered Oleander Drive in Wilmington, but flooding was not a major issue.
By 3:30 a.m., Isaias was approaching Rocky Mount, and winds and rain were decreasing in the Wilmington area.
As the day turned into night on Monday, conditions in Wrightsville Beach got worse as Isaias was not far away.
At Brad's All Season Marine, owner Brad Nuznoff said business was nonstop with people taking boats out Monday.
"I don't think they're taking it quite as seriously as they should," he said.
The town asked visitors to leave – an estimated 30,000 people are on the island during early August – but did not issue a mandatory evacuation order.
Tim Owens, town manager of Wrightsville Beach, was worried that the forecast would change, delivering a more direct blow to the town.
"My concern is that it ramps up overnight and basically we’re not as prepared as we should be," he said.
In Atlantic Beach, where high winds and storm surge are of concern, staff and first responders were on alert and ready for Isaias.
WRAL's Keely Arthur reports waves were pretty high Monday night and winds were gusty at times as rain bands passed through. She also reported some people were braving it as they walked the beach. However, officials were monitoring the area and many had chosen to move inside to brave the storm.
New Bern officials say they have activated the Emergency Operations Center, but staff is being spread between multiple city buildings to help them keep a social distance. The fire chief told residents to have a first aid kit, batteries, flashlights and enough food to last several days in case the power goes out.
New Bern was devastated by Hurricane Florence in 2018, but WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said Isaias won't produce double digit rainfall, and its effects will be far less severe.
Carol Williams, visiting the beach from Greenville, N.C., told WRAL News she is not too worried about Isaias.
The Outer Banks is prone to hurricanes hitting the area. WRAL's Rosalia Fodera reports there were a lot of people walking the beach area but conditions were much better than they were compared to places like Wrightsville Beach and further south.
At times between pop-up showers, you could even see the full moon pop out between the clouds. Still, conditions were expected to worsen, winds will get stronger and more rain was expected. Storm surge and sound side flooding was expected on Tuesday along with areas along Highway 12 being washed out or damaged in some way.
At the main boardwalk area in Carolina Beach, dozens of people were lined up outside Britt's Donuts Monday morning.
Residents and vacationers hope the storm will move through quickly so they can get back outside and enjoy the weather. "This beats the snow storms we get in Northeast Ohio," said vacationer Bob Richards.
Another visitor, Weston Smith from Las Vegas, was excited to experience a hurricane for the first time.
A storm surge between 2 to 4 feet is possible along the entire coast, and red flags mean swimming in the ocean is prohibited. Even if skies clear and conditions appear calm, dangerous rip currents can cause swimmers or surfers to lose control.
New Hanover County officials have asked everyone to be off the roads by 8 p.m. Monday to wait out the storm.
Kure Beach was busy at noon on Monday despite the "no swimming" flags that were flying.
Dave Hegler, emergency manager at Kure Beach, said the town has asked residents and visitors to secure their outdoor furniture, trash cans and other belongings that could blow away during tropical storm force winds expected to move through Monday and Tuesday.
Town crews will even go door-to-door asking visitors in rental homes to secure their belongings.
"We will be taking pictures of violators," Hegler said. "If their debris compromises their neighbor's home, we will be glad to give the pictures to the neighbors, and they can address that through the legal system."
Hegler urged everyone to take the storm seriously.
"It is very serious when you have 60 mph winds picking up something that weighs 20 or 30 pounds and taking it through the window of your neighbor's home," he said. "That's a problem for everyone."