July 3, 2014


Hurricane Season is from June 1 – November 30 each year. This year’s first hurricane, Arthur (Cat 1), has just formed and is sitting off the coast of SC.

Here is a satellite photo of Arthur yesterday as the tropical storm formed into a hurricane:

It is not projected to make landfall other than perhaps the outer banks (Hatteras Island) of NC. These communities are essentially built on a sandbar and barrier islands jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean and averaging just a few feet above sea level, thus they are susceptible to storms and flooding. In 2003 the Island was cut in half by Hurricane Isabel. The community filled the hole with sand but was damaged again in 2011 by Hurricane Irene. 

Each year there is an average of about two Cat 1 hurricanes, one Cat 2 hurricane, and one major (Cat 3,4,5) hurricane that forms in the Atlantic. However, some years are extremely busy. The following are years with 10 or more hurricanes: 1870, 1886, 1887, 1893, 1916, 1933, 1950, 1969, 1995, 1998, 2005, 2010, 2012. 2005 has the record for most hurricanes (15), with 7 of those major. Wilma was a massive Cat 5 hurricane that may have been one of the strongest storms we’ve experienced. Hurricane Katrina (Cat 5) also hit that year which was the costliest natural disaster in US history due to its landfall into low lying New Orleans. Hurricanes don’t always make landfall, many times they form, then blow back out to sea before reaching the US. This is the paths of all the known hurricanes over the last 150 years:

Over the last 100 years a major hurricane (Cat 3,4,5) makes landfall in the USA every 1.4 years on average. However, the last major hurricane to make landfall was Hurricane Wilma (Cat 5) on October 19, 2005. That is 8.7 years ago! This is also a current record of longest time between a major hurricanes to hit the US. So we are “due” for a major hurricane landfall anytime. Hopefully we continue this record trend this year, but the odds are stacking against us.

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