Dorian packs 50-mph wind

Published 10:16 pm Friday, September 6, 2019

As it turned out, effects in Suffolk from Hurricane Dorian were minimal. However, local weather officials don’t want residents to suffer from warning fatigue or apathy, because the next storm that comes this way may be different.

“This hurricane really devastated North Carolina,” National Weather Service Wakefield meteorologist Mike Dutter said Friday evening. “Any deviation from the forecasted track whatsoever can mean great differences for impact.”

Dutter noted that the storm wreaked havoc on many parts of the Outer Banks, which really aren’t that far away from here, in the grand scheme of things.


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“If that storm would’ve tracked even 40, 50 miles to the north, which isn’t very far, our impacts would have been significantly more up here,” he said.

Hurricane Dorian made landfall at Cape Hatteras, N.C., around 8:35 a.m. Friday.

Strongest winds in the Hampton Roads area were generally between 6 a.m. and noon, with the top wind gust in Suffolk, at 50 miles per hour, recorded at 9:01 a.m.

“There were definitely stronger winds to your south and east, but 50 mph isn’t anything to sneeze at,” Dutter said.

Suffolk also saw less rain than to the south and east, with the Suffolk Executive Airport recording only 1.36 inches. A radar-derived chart posted on Wakefield’s Facebook page showed slightly more in North Suffolk.

The Nansemond River saw moderate tidal flooding, but again, not as bad as expected.

“Since the winds weren’t quite as strong as what we were thinking and they happened a little bit earlier, it didn’t correspond to the high tides this afternoon, so the water levels weren’t quite as high as we were thinking they could get to,” Dutter said. “That was fortunate as well.”

North Main Street at the Kimberly Bridge was closed for part of the day as water overtook the road during high tide cycles. The Nansemond River crested at 6.74 feet in the Kimberly area just before 5 p.m. Flood stage there is considered 5.5 feet; the highest seen in recent years was 10.71 feet during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

While some moderate tidal flooding could continue to be seen through the weekend, Dorian is history for Suffolk.

“The storm is continuing to rapidly move off towards Canada, and we’re going to have a nice weekend here,” Dutter said.