Weather Prediction Could Have Big Impact On State's Economic Forecast
Posted September 25, 2003 10:46 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — Could Hurricane Isabel be just the beginning? Hurricane experts predict in the next 10 years, the Atlantic could stir up an above normal number of storms.
"I think it's something we're going to have to learn to live with, I think we lived an awfully charmed life in the 1960s, '70s and '80s," according to Greg Fishel, WRAL chief meteorologist.
Experts said since the beginning of time, hurricane conditions in the Atlantic fluctuate in about a 30-year cycle. So far, the theory is holding up.
"In the '90s and the early part of the 21st century, we've definitely seen a marked increase," Fishel said.
If the weather prediction holds true, it will have a big impact on the state's economic forecast, as well. Experts predict the outlook is not good.
"The ability of the average North Carolinian to feel secure economically and financially will be the casualty if we continue to get hammered at this rate," said Doug Wakeman, of the Meredith College School Of Business.
State economists said the coast may get hit hard by a hurricane, but inland counties will feel the biggest impact on their budgets.
"When you do look at some of those counties where there is no or very little industry, where jobs are hard to come by in the first place, this is going to be a hard thing," Wakeman said.
Even if the weather prediction is correct, it does not mean North Carolina will get hit every year. The good news is that theories can be wrong.
State economists said when the economy recovers, lawmakers should consider putting money aside for future storms.