Local News

Rains May Be Added to Hurricane Ratings

Posted October 30, 1999

— Hurricanes are defined by how strong the winds are that blow around them. But as eastern North Carolina saw with Floyd, it is the rain that can be as much a killer as forceful winds.

Right now, hurricane strength categories don't carry rainfall as a factor in considering the predicted force.

By the time Hurricane Floyd made it to shore the storm was a "two" on a strength scale that goes up to five. It wasn't supposed to be very devastating.

But don't tell that to anyone living in eastern North Carolina.

For the people who lost homes, cars and businesses the storm was off the scale, and now the scale may be changed to match.

Joel Cline is with the National Weather Center in Raleigh and watched Floyd do his wet work.

"We had 1400 rescues in this state -- 400 by air and 1000 by boat," he said.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami is talking about a new one-to-10 scale that could add potential rainfall to the formula.

The goal: to give the people in the path of the storm a better sense of how serious it may be so they take appropriate precautions before the hurricane hits.

Rainfall amounts and expected river levels are already included in storm forecasts but factoring them into a 10-scale may help everyone understand how serious the storm could be.

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