08/03/04 — Alex churns up coast, does little to Wayne

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Alex churns up coast, does little to Wayne

By Staff and Wire
Published in News on August 3, 2004 1:56 PM

MANTEO -- Hurricane Alex picked up strength and speed as it spun along the coast of North Carolina today, but most storm-hardened residents of the Outer Banks didn't bother to board their windows

Little, if any, impact from the now-90 mph hurricane, is expected in the Wayne County area. Even heavy rain bands spun off from the storm Monday missed most of the county, leaving only .27 inches of rain, according to the News-Argus weather station in Goldsboro. Winds this morning measured 12 mph at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

Little additional rain was expected this morning with a gradual clearing as the storm pulled away from the coast.

Upgraded from tropical storm status early today, Alex was gaining strength and was expected to brush the state's barrier islands later in the day. Still, most locals viewed the storm as a lightweight.

The National Weather Service warned that any westward deviance from Alex's current course could drag the hurricane's center across the coastline.

Sustained winds had reached nearly 90 mph early today and the storm was expected to drop up to 4 inches of rain, with more possible in isolated areas, before moving back out to sea, according to weather service forecasts.

At 8 a.m., the storm's center stood 35 miles south of Cape Lookout and moved to the north-northeast near 14 mph. Forecasters posted hurricane warnings from Cape Lookout north to Oregon Inlet, including the Pamlico Sound. Tropical storm warnings stretched nearly the rest of the North Carolina coast, with flash flood watches further inland.

In Carteret County, at the southern end of the Outer Banks, new emergency services director Mark Condra said the storm's edge brought rain showers and 25-mph winds this morning. He expected gale-force winds -- those reaching 39 mph -- later in the day, but was hopeful his first storm on the job would be uneventful.