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NC expert: Don't be fooled by quiet hurricane season

Posted July 15

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— State officials met Friday morning to plan for potential emergencies in North Carolina, and one expert said this year's hurricane season could look a little different than usual.

Bob Boyd, manager of the Meteorology & Natural Hazards Section of the state Division of Emergency Management, has averaged several public and private models and predicts a season that's slightly more active than normal. A normal Atlantic hurricane season is 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

Boyd noted that this year's season is already unusual in some key ways. It started in January with Hurricane Alex, which was the earliest Atlantic hurricane in more than 60 years. Tropical storms Bonnie and Colin dumped vast amounts of rain on the Carolinas in late May and early June, but the tropics have been very quiet since then.

"We have a large area of Saharan dust that's sitting over the Atlantic. What that is doing is drying out the atmosphere, robbing any potential storms of that moisture that they need to form," Boyd said. "For probably the next few weeks, that looks like it's going to continue to be the case."

The hurricane season could pick up steam later this summer, he said, adding that such predictions are always tricky and that it takes only one bad storm to make for a bad season.

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