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Wilmington, NC

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Frying Pan Shoals Climatology

Wave Height

The average wave height is highest from December through March with a secondary peak around September as a result of hurricanes (the peak of Hurricane Season is September 10). Meanwhile waves average 4 ft or less from May through August.  The plot of Wave Height Percentages indicates that between 25-34% of the time from December through March seas are at or above Small Craft Advisory Criteria, which is 6 ft. This plot also indicates that the favored boating time of the year with respect to small seas is from May through August.  During this time seas are 3 ft or less over 30% of the time.  In fact seas are less than 3 feet about 40% of the time in August.  The reason for the higher seas during the winter months correlates with an increase in Nor'Easter activity, and higher frequency of cold frontal passages.

Extremes: Highest Wave Height  31.5 Feet September 5, 1996 (Hurricane Fran) 

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Page Last Modified July 31, 2005
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