Local News

Early Storm May Be Start to Rough Hurricane Season

Posted May 9, 2007 8:25 p.m. EDT
Updated May 11, 2007 11:17 a.m. EDT

— It’s only May, but the year’s first named storm is in the Atlantic. Weather experts said North Carolina could be in for a bumpy ride this hurricane season.

When it comes to predicting hurricanes, North Carolina State University professor Lian Xie and his team have a believable track record. Last year, they accurately predicted a quieter than normal season, but this year, they've kicked it up a notch.

“Our forecast points to an activity that is going to be anywhere between 30 to 50 percent above average,” Xie said.

Xie said the warm water conditions that have fueled Subtropical Storm Andrea could feed into an active hurricane season. He said that based on his research, Andrea was an early start to the 12 to 13 named storms his team predicts will form in the Atlantic this year.

“Our coastal waters are very favorable for storm development and that may continue,” Xie said. “You can expect that will continue into the hurricane season.”

Xie said weather predictors should add one to the initial predictions, since Andrea falls outside the traditional June 1 to Nov. 30 period of hurricane season.

WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel was out front on Andrea, noticing last week that there were indications of a big storm brewing.

“It's not unprecedented, but it's unusual,” Fishel said.

Fishel said it doesn't appear Andrea will turn into a bigger storm. He also said he believes it doesn't necessarily mean North Carolina and its coastline are in for a beating this hurricane season.

“We could have an active year as a whole in terms of the big picture, but the number of storms that come to North Carolina may or may not be that great,” he said.

Fishel and Xie agreed if it were August, the storm would have gotten much stronger before it made landfall.