Earl had been a category 4 hurricane, but by 5 pm on September 2 the
storm had dropped to category 2 and was 350 km from Saint Clair Creek
on the Pamlico. The storm was expected to bring tropical storm force
winds between 2 and 4 am on the 3rd, although the winds would come from
the North West and generate little storm surge. Nevertheless,
considerable preparations were taken on the Pamlico. Bath Creek Marina
was empty and the sail boats were anchored out. Most all of the lifts
had been cleared on the piers and boats were moved to higher ground.
This image includes lifts cleared, a crab boat pulling up pots and a
cluster of craft off a nearby pier running for the safety of North
Creek as Earl approaches (the sailboat was rarely off its lift and
having engine trouble)
By 8 pm Earl had dropped to category 2 and was 324 km away. Closest
approach came as expected at 2 am, when Earl remained category 2.
However, little wind reached the Pamlico (although gusts to 20 mph were
experienced). Steady but moderate rain began and continued until 9 am.
Water level dropped considerably, although not extra-ordinarily. The
normal semidiurnal pattern was diurnal with the passage of Earl on the
3rd. Earl moved mostly straight north through the day, turning somewhat
to the Northeast.
The impact of Earl on the Pamlico River was much less than expected or
feared, the only visible impact was a bit of rain and an unusual water
The plot below shows the water level (in ft) from 7 pm on the 2nd
midnight on the 3rd in blue, the wind speed (in mph) in green and the
direction in red. 0 and 6.3 indicate north winds, 1.57 is east, 3.1415
is south and 4.71 is west. The wind stayed mostly from the Northwest
through the day and water was sucked out. The wind shifted to the East
in the evening and wind strength drove the water briefly to a record
(although barely a record) for the summer.
The next plot shows the rain rate and the distance to the center of
Earl (in km) over the same time period.