Sunday, May 21, 2006

Hurricane Awareness Week

This week has been declared "Hurricane Awareness Week" and everyday the National Weather Service will be covering a specific topic concerning hurricanes and their effects on North Carolina. Today's information is an overview of North Carolina's hurricane history. Though we have had many remnant's of tropical systems move across the state in the past few years. The last strong direct impact we've taken from a hurricane was Isabel in September 2003.
Now is the time to start preparing for the next hurricane that could strike North Carolina.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE RALEIGH MAY 21 2006...

NORTH CAROLINA HURRICANE AWARENESS WEEK...

THIS WEEK HAS BEEN DECLARED NORTH CAROLINA'S HURRICANE AWARENESS WEEK FOR 2006. ALL WEEK LONG THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WILL BE ISSUING INFORMATIVE MESSAGES TO HELP YOU PREPARE FOR HURRICANESEASON.EACH DAY WE WILL COVER A DIFFERENT TOPIC. TODAY WE WILL TALK ABOUT HURRICANE HISTORY AND NORTH CAROLINA. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A NATIVE TO NORTH CAROLINA TO KNOW THE STATE RECEIVES MORE THAN ITS SHARE OF HURRICANE IMPACTS AND DAMAGE. OVER THE PAST 10 YEARS NORTH CAROLINA HAS SEEN PRESIDENTIALLY DECLARED DISASTERS RESULTING FROM HURRICANES IN LOCATIONS FROM THE OUTER BANKS TO THE BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS. NO PART OF THE STATE HAS GONE UNAFFECTED FROM THESE GIANT STORMS OVER THE PAST DECADE.

EVER SINCE THE FIRST EXPEDITIONS TO ROANOKE ISLAND IN 1586 HURRICANES HAVE BEEN RECORED TO HAVE CAUSED EXPENSIVE DAMAGE TO THE STATE. RELIABLE TRACKING AND CLASSIFICATIONS OF TROPICAL SYSTEMS DID NOT BEGIN UNTIL NEARLY 300 YEARS LATER IN 1886. SINCE THAT TIME THERE HAVE BEEN NEARLY 1000 TROPICAL CYCLONES IN THE ATLANTIC OCEAN AND GULF OF MEXICO. NEARLY 20 PERCENT OF ALL THESE TROPICAL SYSTEMS PASSED WITH IN AT LEAST 300 MILES OF NORTH CAROLINA.

STATICALLY THE COAST OF NORTH CAROLINA CAN EXPECT TO RECEIVE A DIRECT LAND FALLING TROPICAL SYSTEM ONCE EVERY 4 YEARS. HOWEVER WHEN LOOKING AT STATISTICS FOR THE REST OF THE STATE...NORTH CAROLINA FEELS THE IMPACT OF A TROPICAL SYSTEM EVERY ONE AND A YEARS. THIS WAS THE CASE LAST YEAR WHEN DEADLY FLOODS FROM HURRICANES IVAN AND FRANCES STRUCK THE MOUNTAINS. NORTH CAROLINAS UNIQUE GEOGRAPHY WITH RESPECT TO ITS COASTLINE AND THE WAY THE EASTERN THIRD OF THE STATE PROTRUDES AND CURVES OUT INTO THE ATLANTIC OCEAN MAKE THE AREA A FAVORABLE TARGET FOR HURRICANES.

RESIDENTS IN NORTH CAROLINA LIVING FROM RALEIGH EAST AS AS FAR OUT IN THE ATLANTIC OCEAN AS THE FLORIDA COAST AND THE BAHAMAS. THIS MAKES CAPE HATTERAS THE MOST FAVORABLE LOCATION FOR HURRICANE AND TROPICAL STORM LANDFALLS.

SINCE RECORDS HAVE BEEN KEPT DATING BACK TO 1806, AROUND 60 TROPICAL SYSTEMS HAVE MADE DIRECT LANDFALL ON THE NORTH CAROLINA COAST. EVEN MORE DISTURBING IS THE FACT AROUND 90 TROPICAL SYSTEMS HAVE MOVED THROUGH AND AFFECTED THE STATE WITHOUT ACTUALLY MAKING LANDFALL ALONG OUR COAST. THESE TYPE SYSTEMS TYPICALLY MAKE LANDFALL FURTHER TO THE SOUTH AND THEN BRING FLOODING RAINS AND TORNADOES TO THE AREA. THE MOST ACTIVE MONTHS FOR TROPICAL SYSTEMS IN NORTH CAROLINA ARE AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER. HURRICANE LANDFALLS AND IMPACTS HAVE BEEN FELT AS EARLY AS LATE JUNE AND AS LATE AS MID NOVEMBER...HOWEVER MOST TROPICAL ACTIVITY OCCURS IN A SIX WEEK PERIOD FROM MID AUGUST TO LATE SEPTEMBER. THERE HAVE BEEN SEVERAL YEARS WHERE MULTIPLE HURRICANES AND TROPICAL STORMS HAVE HIT THE STATE ALL WITHIN WEEKS OF EACH OTHER.

YEARS WHERE NORTH CAROLINA HAS BEEN HIT BY MORE THAN ONE TROPICAL SYSTEM INCLUDE...

1842
1899
1933
1954 (CAROL...EDNA AND HAZEL)
1955 (CONNIE...DIANE AND IONE)
1971 (DORIA AND GINGER)
1996 (ARTHUR...BERTHA AND FRAN)
1999 (DENNIS AND FLOYD)

HURRICANE HAZEL REMAINS THE MOST POWERFUL HURRICANE TO EVER MAKE LANDFALL IN NORTH CAROLINA. HAZEL WAS A CATEGORY 4 HURRICANE AT LANDFALL WITH WINDS OF 144 MPH.

SINCE THAT TIME HURRICANE FLOYD, IN1999, BECAME THE COSTLIEST HURRICANE IN NORTH CAROLINA HISTORY. SIXTY-SIX COUNTIES WERE PRESIDENTIALLY DECLARED DISASTER AREAS FOLLOWING FLOYD . TOTAL STORM LOSSES EXCEEDED SIX BILLION DOLLARS.

HURRICANE FRAN...THE SECOND COSTLIEST HURRICANE IN STATE HISTORY...WAS THE LAST HURRICANE TO SEVERELY IMPACT CENTRAL NORTH CAROLINA.

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