Weather

N.C. urged to prepare for hurricanes

Posted May 23, 2010 2:32 p.m. EDT
Updated July 22, 2010 10:20 a.m. EDT

— North Carolinians are being urged to prepare for the new hurricane season, which starts June 1.

The National Weather Service has designed May 23-29 as Hurricane Awareness Week and is highlighting a different storm danger or aspect of hurricane forecasting each day.

Check the Weather Center blog daily for new facts about hurricanes and tips for surviving them.

This year, researchers at North Carolina State University have predicted above-normal hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin, with 15 to 18 named storms. Eight to 11 of the named storms could reach hurricane strength, and there is an 80 percent chance a named storm will make landfall in the southeast.

The NWS says that North Carolina is one of the "most hurricane-ravaged" states in the U.S. Officials pointed to several facts:

  • According to records dating from 1806, over 70 tropical systems have made direct landfall on the North Carolina coast, and around 100 have impacted the state without making direct landfall.
  • Nearly 20 percent of all tropical systems pass within at least 300 miles of North Carolina.
  • In any given year, there is a one in three chance that our state will experience a hurricane landfall – and that a tropical storm of hurricane will track directly over central North Carolina.
  • A major hurricane will threaten North Carolina at least once every 11 years.

Forecasters will use a new classification system to determine hurricane strength this year. The revised Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale will classify storms only by peak wind strength, dropping measurements of storm surges, flooding impact and central pressure.

NWS forecasters said the changes will increase scientific accuracy and reduce confusion about storms' potential impact.

Topics also to be covered during Hurricane Awareness Week are flooding, tornadoes and the science of hurricane forecasting.

The hurricane season ends Nov. 30.