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It was the beginning of summer when we said Charleston was in for an “above average” hurricane season, but now, a federal forecaster is calling for far more hurricane activity expected for the rest of the season, saying the next few months could be “extremely active.”
Historically, nine of every 10 hurricanes occur after August 10, said Phil Klotzback of the Tropical Meteorology Project.
This year, the so-called Bermuda high with its hurricane-steering winds is weakening but also shifting back and forth, which could nudge cyclones either toward us or away from us. Since spring, the waters offshore the Southeast have been hot enough to muster up some cyclones…which could strengthen into a hurricane in a very short amount of time.
“At this stage of the game, I find myself focusing more time and effort on the individual ‘could be’ features because the set-up off the U.S. southeast coast could get a tropical cyclone spun up quickly close to the beach,” said Mark Malsick, the S.C. Climate Office severe weather liaison.
“High pressures building down from the north can help spawn ‘home grown’ tropical cyclones along tail ends of cold fronts over our ripe waters,” said meteorologist Shea Gibson of WeatherFlow, a Charleston-based company.
Even a relatively weaker storm could wreak some serious havoc this season. We all remember Hurricane Matthew that happened last October. It scraped up the coast as a minimal, non-threatening hurricane but it did more than $100 million in damage from Hilton Head Island all the way to Myrtle Beach and killed 43 people.
NOAA lead forecaster Gerry Bell said all the dominant factors that stir up a hurricane are perfectly and alarmingly present this year, including favorable winds and much warmer-than-average water.
Most of us have lived through a hurricane in Charleston. Whether it was Hugo in 1989 or Matthew just last year…. we know that vulnerable feeling when Mother Nature decides to wreak havoc. There’s nothing we can do about it besides be prepared, stay calm, and make smart decisions. Here is a helpful guide to getting through a hurricane.
Learn more from our source.