ATLANTIC BEACH — Heavy winds from a storm Saturday tore part of the roof off the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel on West Fort Macon Road.
The National Weather Service’s Newport weather forecasting office had warned of an incoming cold front March 11, which the weather service forecast would bring potentially severe thunderstorms to Carteret County Saturday. The forecast proved accurate, as both rain and heavy winds came through the area, resulting in an emergency call to the Atlantic Beach Fire Department at 10:54 am for storm damage to the DoubleTree Hotel.
Atlantic Beach Fire Chief Mike Simpson said Monday in a News Times interview when they pulled out of the fire station, the winds made getting to the hotel treacherous.
“When we arrived, a large section of the membrane roof had blown off,” Chief Simpson said. “There were a lot of (roofing) materials blowing around. There were people ducking and running for cover.”
Atlantic Beach firefighters directed people at the scene to shelter indoors in the lobby of the hotel. Chief Simpson said a large section of the membrane roof was still hanging off the side of the building and about 10 vehicles had sustained significant damage from roofing materials falling on them.
Firefighters checked on guests in the upper floors as they waited for the storm to die down. No injuries resulted from the damage to the hotel. After the storm had passed, firefighters and other first responders cleared debris and gathered insurance information.
Chief Simpson said hotel staff have contacted their contractors in Raleigh for repairs. The chief said he estimates about 50-60% of the membrane roof was taken off the hotel.
“Most of the roof decking remained intact,” he said. “It was mostly the covering that got blown off.”
As of Monday morning, the damage to the DoubleTree appears to be the most severe caused by Saturday’s storm. Carteret County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Franklin Fulcher said in a News Times interview Monday while there were some instances of outdoor belongings getting blown around, along with a power outage in the western part of the county for several hours, no other severe damages occurred.
An NWS preliminary local storm report issued at noon Saturday said a weather recording station near Oceanana Pier in Atlantic Beach recorded a 66-mph gust at 11 am Later, an NWS public information statement reported the highest wind gust in Carteret County during the storm was an 84-mph gust at 10:56 am recorded on Cedar Island. A 62-mph gust was recorded in Beaufort at 11:08 am
The western part of the county saw less severe winds. A 45-mph gust was recorded in Newport at 10:58 am, while a 35-mph gust was recorded at 2:53 pm in Emerald Isle.
Contact Mike Shutak at 252-723-7353, email firstname.lastname@example.org; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.