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Wrightsville Beach
Monday, April 15, 2024

Gulf storm could bring rainy start to Labor Day weekend

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With the arrival of September, North Carolina Preparedness Month, Wrightsville Beach officials said Wednesday they would be monitoring a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico that could move through the southeast and impact local beaches during Labor Day weekend.

Wrightsville Beach Town Manager Tim Owens said that while lifeguards could be flying red flags to warn swimmers of danger on Saturday, the weather should still be nice throughout the day and the weekend.

“We expect great weather, everything will be open,” Owens said of the weather forecast for Labor Day, which traditionally marks the last day of summer.

On Wednesday, the National Weather Service of Wilmington said Tropical Storm Hermine could create 5 to 7 inches of rain for the region between 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1 and 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 3.

The storm warnings come after two other storms in the Atlantic Ocean, Tropical Depression No. 8 and Hurricane Gaston, created rough surf throughout the week. On Saturday, Aug. 27, Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue assisted 25 swimmers. Tuesday was a red-flag day as well, though ocean rescue officials said there were few swimmers in the water and no rescues.

Wrightsville Beach Fire Chief Glen Rogers said most stands would have two lifeguards throughout the weekend and officials will be closely monitoring the weather.

During a storm preparedness event Thursday, Aug. 25, Rep. David Rouzer, R-N.C. District 7, said September and October are months when hurricanes and tropical storms have been historically more prevalent.

“We have the benefit of a lot of experience,” Rouzer said of the area’s storm response capability.

Rouzer made the comments after he toured an electrical line repair site on Hooker Road in Wilmington, where he got a first-hand look at coastal storm preparations and a Duke Energy lineman’s work.

Rouzer said he was confident in the utility’s ability to respond to hurricanes, ice storms and other emergencies, thanks partly to the professionalism of the employees who make repairs to the power lines. Rouzer watched the crew replace a capacitor, which the crew told him cleans voltage and maintains integrity in the main line feed.

“It’s not easy work. It’s hot, grueling work,” Rouzer said. “When you crank on the AC when it’s 100 degrees, you don’t think anything about it, but it’s because of the great work of the linemen.”

Bill Greenwood, a construction and maintenance supervisor for Duke Energy, said the company monitors storms through its own in-house weather service: Duke Meteorology. Local crews will begin ramping up preparations up to 72 hours before a storm hits the region, he said.

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