2005 Hurricane Season
By: Tony Sturey, Warning Coordination Meteorologist
Photos Courtesy: Al Wheeler, MIC, WFO Gray
When we think of high impact weather phenomena that can directly
affect lives and property in northern New England,
often those ferocious Nor'easters producing blizzard conditions during the
cold season, or the warm season thunderstorms producing gusty winds, heavy
rain, hail and lightning, come to mind. These and other high impact weather
conditions deserve our attention, in order that we may help lessen or mitigate
However, not in the spotlight across Maine,
but nevertheless a key component during the summer months, is the Atlantic
hurricane season. The Atlantic hurricane season starts on June 1 and ends
The last landfalling hurricanes to hit the coast of Maine
were Bob in 1991, Gerda in 1969, Edna in 1954 and Carol in 1953. Hurricane
Juan hit the coast of Nova Scotia,
2003. As a result, and although rare, hurricanes occasionally find their way
into northern New England, and we are overdue!
NOAA's hurricane forecasters are predicting another above-normal
hurricane season on the heels of last year's destructive and historic hurricane
season. So what does this mean for Maine
and what should we do?
Planning and preparation for hurricane safety are integral
components when attempting to make a difference at home, in your work place,
at school, or perhaps in your community. In an effort to promote hurricane
safety, the National Weather Service Offices in Caribou and Gray, with support
from United States Senator Susan Collins, United States Congressman Michael
Michaud, Bangor Mayor Frank Farrington, the American Red Cross and Maine Emergency
Management, hosted NOAA's first stop on its week-long east coast Hurricane
Awareness Tour. The Hurricane Awareness Tour's stop at Bangor
on May 2, 2005 included
the P-3 Orion "Hurricane Hunter" aircraft and her crew.
The "Hurricane Hunter" P-3 Orion Aircraft
Bangor Mayor Frank Farrington and National
Director Max Mayfield
A Group of School Children Touring the P-3 Orion "Hurricane
The P-3 Orion "Hurricane Hunter" aircraft is one
of the world's most heavily instrumented research aircraft. Often referred
to as a "flying laboratory", the Hurricane Hunter's mission is to
fly into hurricanes and collect detailed weather observations of these powerful
storms. Onboard the P-3 Orion aircraft that day were representatives from
the National Hurricane
Center, including director Max
Mayfield, and the team from the Air
where the P-3 aircraft is cached. Nearly 675 people attended the day-long
event, learning about hurricanes and hurricane safety, and touring inside
the P-3 aircraft!
Senator Susan Collins and Congressman Mike Michuad Tour the P-3 Orion
Senator Collins and Congressman Michuad
in the Cockpit of P-3 Orion
Director, Max Mayfield, During a Media Interview
Many people only think of hurricane impact at coastal locations,
with large waves, storm surge, destructive winds and heavy rain. This is quite
true with respect to significant weather on the coast, however, the effects of
hurricanes can move well inland with devastating flooding/flash flooding,
mudslides, tornadoes, intense winds and storm or tidal surge. Across downeast
coastal Maine, and inland
portions, we need to be aware of the aforementioned possibilities that a
hurricane blow could deliver to our region.
Listed below are Tropical Cyclone classifications:
- Tropical Depression- An organized
system of persistent clouds and thunderstorms with a closed low-level
circulation and maximum sustained winds of 38 mph (33 knots) or less.
- Tropical Storm- An organized
system of strong thunderstorms with a well defined circulation and maximum
sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph (34 to 63 knots.)
- Hurricane- An intense tropical
weather system with a well defined circulation and sustained winds of 74
mph (64 knots) or higher. In the western North Pacific, hurricanes are
called typhoons, and similar storms in the Indian Ocean
are called cyclones.
What to listen for:
- HURRICANE/TROPICAL STORM WATCH: Hurricane/tropical
storm conditions are possible in the specified are of the Watch, usually
within 36 hours. During a Watch, prepare your home and review your plan
for evacuation in case a Hurricane/Tropical Storm Warning is issued.
- HURRICANE/TROPICAL STORM WARNING:
Hurricane/tropical storm conditions are expected in the specified area of
the Warning, usually within 24 hours. Complete storm preparations and
leave the threatened area if directed by local officials.
- SHORT TERM WATCHES AND WARNINGS: These
warnings provide detailed information on specific hurricane threats, such
as floods and tornadoes.
To learn more about hurricanes please visit the web site for
the Tropical Prediction Center/National Hurricane Center at: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov .
P-3 Orion Departing Post the First Stop
of the Hurricane Awareness Tour in Bangor,