Not just a question of “strength”…

It’s a common misconception to judge a hurricane’s “danger” based solely on its strength. But sometimes, even a weak system can be deadly. In 2004, a weakening Tropical Storm Bonnie made landfall along the Florida coast. The system quickly fell apart over land and was merely a remnant circulation by the time it exited North Carolina. But the associated bands of thunderstorms managed to produce an F2 tornado (winds of 130 mph) near Rocky Point (Pender County). Three residents died in the storm.

Hurricane Matthew was also a relatively weak system when it finally arrived in North Carolina in October of 2016, with winds barely at hurricane strength. But Matthew brought torrential rain that led to flash flooding. Even after Matthew departed, area rivers (which were already swollen with heavy rains from September)  began to rise. Water levels eventually surpassed records set by Hurricane Floyd in several counties, and the economic toll would be measured in billions.

We must always remember that a hurricane’s “threat” is a function of timing, path, strength, as well as the dominant weather pattern of the preceding weeks.  No storm should ever be taken “lightly”.

 Chief Meteorologist Jerry Jackson

(images courtesy of NWS and CBS)

WNCT-TV 9 On Your Side provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s