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Ophelia and Tropical Storms in Chowan County

Last week, Tropical Storm Ophelia swept through Edenton and Chowan County.

It ignited a lot of questions.

Many people swing through, visiting Chowan County for a romantic weekend or exploring our 400 years of history and falling deeply in love with this place.

So, visits come with a lot of questions.

  1. What are home prices like?
  2. Are there things to do in the area?
  3. Is it safe?
  4. How destructive are hurricanes?

As hurricanes have pummeled many places along the southeast in the last few years, seemingly growing stronger, more and more people are asking this question about our town.

There have even been recent news stories about major insurers starting to refuse to offer property insurance on homes in states like Florida because of how aggressive these storms are.

So, with the arrival of Tropical Storm Ophelia last week, this is a perfect time to talk about what life is like and how these storms impact life and business here in Edenton and Chowan County.

How worried should I be about tropical storms or hurricanes in Chowan County?

Let’s start by talking about our location.

It can be hard to picture exactly where we are if you don’t know about Edenton and Chowan County.

We are in Northeast North Carolina, which means we are significantly farther north than the places that hit the news headlines for hurricanes.

 We are far enough north to avoid many of the superstorms that crash into the panhandle of Florida and the coast of Alabama, Texas, and Louisiana.

When a storm hits us, like Ophelia did last week, it has usually already made landfall much farther south and has weakened substantially before we begin to feel any impacts.

But, we are also far enough inland to be protected from the worst storms that skip along the coast.

As an area located in the Inner Banks region of the state, we have the dual benefits of being close enough to the Outer Banks to get there quickly but being far enough inland to avoid the worst that these storms typically have to offer.

So, our location helps us.

The geology of our area helps, too.

You didn’t come to this website to learn about geology, but two interesting elements (pun intended) are significant factors that mitigate the impact of storms in our region.

The first factor is the Albemarle Sound. 

This gorgeous body of water has been central to our community for 400 years, but in times of exceptionally heavy rainfall, it helps mitigate the rain. Because it is directly connected to the Atlantic Ocean, excess water feeds directly into the Sound, which equalizes into the Atlantic, so it doesn’t pile up and cause destruction around our beautiful county.

The Outer Banks is the other factor. 

The Outer Banks is a series of barrier islands on a relatively shallow underwater shelf extending miles into the ocean. When storms hit that underwater shelf, they’ll often bounce off it either north to Virginia or South toward South Carolina, shielding places in and around Edenton and Chowan County from the worst of the storm.

The protection they offer us is one of the reasons they are called barrier islands.

So, the land helps us.

Finally, our local government protects us.

Last week, in the days leading up to the arrival of Ophelia, and especially as we knew it would pass over this area, officials from Chowan County and Edenton kicked their preparation efforts into high gear.

They brought in electrical and utility workers from other areas, so they had extra hands to deal with power issues swiftly.

They spent days leading up to the storm’s arrival preparing the emergency systems so police, firefighters, and all emergency personnel were ready to respond to anything at the drop of a hat.

Edenton’s information officer, Tyler Newman, was all around town before, during, and after the storm, ensuring everyone knew what was happening and keeping all of us updated on any power outages or issues during the storm.

Even after the storm, both Chowan County and Edenton were in constant communication to make sure that things returned to normal quickly.

Do we get tropical storms and hurricanes?

Yes! Just like every area of the country, we get hurricanes, tropical storms, and other forms of adverse weather.

But, between the governmental leaders, emergency workers, and hardworking folks at the utility department in both the town and county, there’s no shortage of capable people ready and able to answer the call of anything that happens here.

Whether you are considering living or starting a business here, this place is great.

The local government is engaged, informed, and ready to help you grow.

The cost of living and doing business here is far less than elsewhere.

And, you are in a “goldilocks situation” close enough to enjoy the beautiful ocean but far enough away to be protected from the dangers it can bring.

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