Prior to its arrival in North Carolina Monday night, forecasters said Tropical Storm Isaias primarily would be a quick moving wind event for the Albemarle area.
They said it would be packing sustained winds of between 40-50 mph, with gusts up to 65 mph, and that the worst of the storm likely wouldn’t happen until after 3 a.m. Tuesday.
They also said the area likely wouldn’t see much rain from Isaias but there would be storm surge, possibly between 2 and 4 feet.
They also said Isaias likely would create the potential for dangerous tornadoes.
All of that more or less came true during Isaias’ pass over the region late Monday and early Tuesday morning.
The storm did pass over quickly, packing maximum sustained winds of 25-38 mph with wind gusts of 60 mph. The worst of those winds occurred between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. Tuesday And the accumulated rainfall was only about 1.5 inches.
The storm also spawned several tornadoes, including a deadly one in Bertie County in which two people were killed and 12 others were transported to the hospital for treatment of storm-related injuries.
There were no other reports of injuries in the region from the storm.
Pasquotank-Camden Emergency Management Coordinator Christy Saunders said the storm downed trees and power lines but she did not receive any reports of significant damage.
Isaias did leave thousands of residents in the dark. The storm caused about 9,000 power outages in Pasquotank and Camden counties, with about 5,000 of them in Elizabeth City, Saunders said.
City Manager Rich Olson said city crews began restoring power around 7:30 a.m. He said the number of city outages was reduced to around 2,500 by 10:30 a.m., and he expected 95-98 percent of city customers to have their power restored by noon Tuesday.
“We had a couple of poles that snapped, or are leaning,” Olson said. “The Perkins (Road) substation took a number of default hits and we are trying to clear those defaults. Hopefully, it will be very easy for us to turn the power back on.”
Isaias also caused storm surge along areas near Albemarle Sound, but most of that water had receded by morning, Saunders said.
Storm surge from Isaias flooded several streets for a time during the storm. Olson said several streets downtown were “cutoff” at one point during the storm and that Water Street was covered with six to eight inches of water.
Shepard Street and Southern Avenue were also covered with around 8 inches of water. Riverside Avenue, Rivershore Road and Roanoke Avenue also experienced flooding.
“We had the wind we were expecting but we were not anticipating the storm surge that we got,” Olson said. “At 5 a.m., the storm surge had pushed things very high. Certain areas were cut off completely. But the wind has shifted and now most of that water is gone.”
Elsewhere, Albemarle Electric Membership Corp. reported nearly 3,500 outages on its system Tuesday morning, the majority of them in Chowan and Perquimans counties. By 6:30 p.m., only 600 of those outages remained, AEMC spokesman Chris Powell said.
The majority of those outages — 592 — were in a section of northern Chowan County near where the electric cooperative has a metering site, he said. The site is “fed” power by a Dominion Power line which sustained “quite a bit of damage” and was being repaired by Dominion workers, Powell said. Once Dominion repaired its line, AEMC would be able to quickly determine how many of its customers in that area were still without power. Until then, AEMC employees were inspecting the lines to find potential faults in the system, he said.
The handful of the AEMC members still without power Tuesday evening were in Pasquotank and Perquimans counties. Powell said AEMC was working to restore their power as quickly as possible.
Dominion Power was reporting 1,625 customers in Chowan and 588 in Perquimans without power Tuesday morning. As of 9:15 a.m., Dominion was reporting 7,501 Currituck residents without power, but that number dropped to 4,650 by 10:15 a.m.
Dominion also was reporting 1,013 outages in Camden and 1,087 in Pasquotank.
Dominion spokeswoman Samantha Moore said high winds from Isaias brought down power lines and utility poles and that seven tornadoes touched down in Virginia and North Carolina, causing more than 500,000 customers, including 35,000 in northeastern North Carolina, to lose power at the height of the storm.
Moore said the utility can’t “establish” restoration times until it can assess damage across the region.
“Crews are working as safely and quickly as they can to rebuild the damaged infrastructure,” she said. “As the winds died down, patrol teams immediately began assessing damage and gathering data to help us pinpoint the location and extent of damages. We’re committed to sharing restoration times as soon as we have enough information to provide an accurate estimate.”
As of Tuesday evening, Dominion was still reporting 3,282 outages in Currituck, 522 in Camden, 939 in Pasquotank, 451 in Perquimans and 1,831 in Chowan.
Currituck Commissioner Owen Etheridge talked with several fellow commissioners, including Kevin McCord, who is also a sergeant with the Currituck Sheriff’s Department, Tuesday morning and said he did not receive any reports of major damage in the county.
“We have had power outages and some limbs down,” Etheridge said. “Corolla came through pretty much unscathed. Commissioner McCord said, and he is out working, that it doesn’t appear that there is any structural damage anywhere in the county.”
Currituck planned to open its convenience centers Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for residents and property owners needing to dispose of storm debris.
In both Edenton and Hertford, crews spent Tuesday clearing debris from streets. Chowan convenience sites were closed Tuesday because of power outages and debris in roadways but planned to be open on Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Dare County officials were also reporting minimal damage from Isaias. Scattered power outages were reported because of downed trees. There also were reports of soundside flooding in some low-lying areas. While some soundside waters continued to rise, conditions were expected to improve as Isaias left the region, officials said.
Initial damage assessment were completed for Hatteras Island, Dare officials said. Because there was limited impact from the storm, unrestricted access for residents and visitors was scheduled to begin Tuesday at 2 p.m.
Sand and water remained on some Hatteras Island roadways in low-lying areas, particularly along N.C. Highway 12 south of the Etheridge Bridge. Motorists were advised to expect delays.
A high surf advisory and beach hazards statement were also still in effect as dangerous ocean conditions were expected to continue throughout the week. The prohibition for swimming along beaches on Hatteras Island also was still in effect.
Staff writers Paul Nielson, Reggie Ponder, Julian Eure and The Perquimans Weekly Editor Miles Layton contributed to this report.