'Uneventful' Hurricane a Good Thing

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Hurricane Irene came and went Sunday with only minor damage in Hampton and North Hampton

By Kyle Stucker

Hampton-NorthHamptonPatch, August 29, 2011

Hampton Beach and other beaches in the area, but not North Beach, were off limits Sunday due to Hurricane Irene, although that didn't keep many from walking the strip to take pictures. Credit: Kyle Stucker

Hampton and North Hampton safety officials let out a collective sigh of relief Sunday night, knowing that an Hurricane Irene came and went without any major incidents.

Some areas of North Hampton were still without power as of 11:30 p.m. Sunday, and Hobbs Road was still closed due to a downed tree that landed on power lines and narrowly missed a nearby house.

Despite those issues, as well as resolved minor road closures in North Hampton and scattered power outages in Hampton and North Hampton, most of the area was seemingly unscathed by the gusting winds and driving rain.

"We are pleasantly surprised," said North Hampton Firefighter Jason Lajoie, who added that he is hopefully Public Service of New Hampshire will remove the tree causing the outage on Hobbs Roads by midday Monday. "Everything else has gone very well. It was pretty uneventful."

Officials had planned for the worst, evenrecommending residents within a few hundred yards of Ocean Boulevard in both towns to seek shelter or stay with a relative due to possible flooding over the sea wall.

Both high tides came and went Sunday, though, without any significant flooding issues, according to North Hampton Fire Chief Dennis Cote.

There were few reported power outages and downed branches in Hampton, although one resident told Patch that Warner Lane and Roberts Drive on the western edge of town lost power.

One section of Willow Avenue in North Hampton was temporarily closed Sunday, while Maple, Chapel and Lovering roads were all temporarily restricted to one lane of travel due to various small flooding or tree problems.

Cote said the biggest issue area safety officials faced Sunday was actually the people -- not the storm -- because hundreds flocked to the beaches to take pictures of the rough surf.

There were no safety issues Sunday despite people entering the water, and Cote recommended residents also use common sense Monday even though Irene is seemingly over.

"The state beaches are closed until Tuesday [because] the rip current issues are going to linger for 24 to 36 hours," he said. "There's no need for people to be in the water. If a big wave comes through, it could easily take them out. I just don’t want anybody to put themselves in harm's way."

A few adventure-seekers, including Quinn and Bryce Parker, broke out the boogieboards and caught a few waves Sunday at North Beach during Hurricane Irene. Credit: Kyle Stucker
Waves off North Beach on Sunday afternoon. Credit: Kyle Stucker
Patrols were sitting on some of the area beaches Sunday to make sure no one entered the water or walked on the beach due to strong currents associated with Irene. Credit: Kyle Stucker
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