To Onslow County
Welcome to North Carolina! Onslow County’s flat, gently rolling terrain covers 763 square miles and is in the southeastern coastal plain of North Carolina, approximately 120 miles east of Raleigh, and 50 miles north of Wilmington. The city of Jacksonville is the county seat, and the areas surrounding the city constitute the county’s major population centers and growth areas.
The county is home to more than 186,000 people and includes the incorporated towns of Holly Ridge, Richlands, Swansboro, North Topsail Beach, part of Surf City and unincorporated Sneads Ferry. Approximately 156,000 acres make up the U.S. Marine Corps, Camp Lejeune and as of 2015, more than 36,000 marines and sailors were stationed there.
Onslow County offers the ultimate in outdoor recreation and sports with more than 30 miles of beaches, rivers and ocean teeming with an abundance of marine life, and forests filled with wildlife. The scenic 40-mile-long New River is the only large river in the continental United States with headwaters and mouth in the same county. The White Oak River serves as the eastern county line from its headwaters to Bogue Inlet in Swansboro. Onslow County remains important agriculturally, its rich farmland still yielding bountiful crops. Today, the abundance and beauty found in scenic terrain, shoreline and seascape still define Onslow County, attracting industry, tourism and families to this distinctive community.
Attracted by the waterways and longleaf pine forests, the first European and English settlers arrived in Onslow County in 1713 in what was originally part of the colonial precincts of Carteret and New Hanover. The county, formed in 1734, was named for the Honorable Arthur Onslow, speaker of the British House of Commons. After a lethal 1752 hurricane, the county courthouse was relocated from Town Point to Wantlands Ferry; this settlement was incorporated in 1842 and renamed Jacksonville after President Andrew Jackson, who was born in North Carolina. Largely a collection of sparsely populated agrarian and maritime communities, Onslow County dramatically changed in the early 1940s with the establishment of the Army’s Camp Davis near Holly Ridge (now closed), and the creation of Camp Lejeune in 1941.
Weather and Climate
Onslow County has 215 sunny days on average. The hottest month is July with an average high temperature of just over 90 degrees, and the coldest is January with an average low of 34. Precipitation is more frequent here than in many other places but snow is rare. The average yearly rainfall is just over 57 inches but snowfall only around 2 inches.
Every second counts in a disaster so planning and preparation can be lifesavers.
Ready North Carolina is the state’s official emergency preparedness campaign managed by the Division of Homeland Security. The ReadyNC mobile app is an all-in-one tool to help people get ready for everything from traffic jams to hurricanes and ice storms. The app gives information on real-time traffic and weather conditions, river levels, evacuations and power outages. The website provides information on creating an emergency plan and emergency kit, pet preparedness and disaster preparedness for seniors. For more information about local disaster preparedness, visit https://readync.org.
The following are considered significant hazards in North Carolina.
Onslow County is on the Atlantic coast, so it’s prone to flooding and flash flooding. Even small amounts of sea level rise make flooding more serious by adding to tides and storm surge. Area terrain can be poorly absorbent, and dry channels, ditches and river beds fill quickly. This can lead to flash floods.
A flash flood watch is issued when flash flooding is expected to occur within six hours after heavy rains have ended. A flash flood warning is issued for life- and property-threatening flooding that will occur within six hours. During a flash flood watch or warning, stay tuned to local radio or TV stations or a National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio for further weather information.
If you are outdoors during a rainstorm, seek higher ground. Avoid walking through any floodwaters — even water 6 inches deep can sweep you off your feet. If you are driving, avoid flooded areas. The majority of deaths in flash floods occur when people try to drive through flooded areas. Roads under water may not be intact, and water only a foot deep can displace a vehicle. If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately and seek higher ground. Rapidly rising water can engulf a vehicle and sweep it away.
Some exposure to sunlight is good, even healthy, but too much can be dangerous. Broad-spectrum ultraviolet radiation, listed as a known carcinogen by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, can cause blistering sunburns as well as long-term problems like skin cancer, cataracts and immune system suppression. Overexposure also causes wrinkling and premature aging of the skin.
Cloud cover reduces UV levels but does not block them all. Depending on the thickness of the cloud cover, you can still burn on a cold and overcast day, so be prepared with sunglasses, sunscreen, long-sleeved garments, wide-brimmed hats and a parasol.
While more likely at certain times of year, thunderstorms can happen anytime. A severe thunderstorm can knock out power, bring high winds, lightning, flash floods and hail, and spin into a twister in seconds. Pay attention to storm warnings. Remember the rule: “When thunder roars, head indoors.” Once inside, avoid electrical appliances and plumbing fixtures, and use only a cordless telephone in an emergency. Unplug your desktop computer. Do the same with other plugged-in electronics or use surge protectors. The National Weather Service recommends following the 30/30 Rule: People should seek shelter if the “Flash-to-Bang” delay — length of time in seconds from the sight of the lightning flash to the arrival of its thunder — is 30 seconds or less, and remain under cover for 30 minutes after the final thunderclap.
Damaging hailstorms can accompany severe thunderstorms. Hailstones are created when strong updrafts within the storm lift water droplets to a height where they freeze. These ice particles will continue to grow until they’re too big to be supported by the updraft, then fall as hail. The size and severity of the storm determine the size of its hailstones.
For more safety information, visitthe National Weather Service’s website.