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Hurricane Preparedness Awareness Week
May 23 - 29, 2010


Sunday    Monday    Tuesday    Wednesday    Thursday    Friday    Saturday


THIS WEEK HAS BEEN DECLARED NORTH CAROLINA'S HURRICANE AWARENESS
WEEK FOR 2010. ALL WEEK LONG THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WILL BE
ISSUING INFORMATIVE MESSAGES TO HELP YOU PREPARE FOR HURRICANE
SEASON.

EACH DAY WE WILL COVER A DIFFERENT TOPIC. TODAY WE WILL TALK ABOUT
HURRICANE BASICS.

HURRICANES NEED THE RIGHT INGREDIENTS IN ORDER TO FORM. THESE
INCLUDE WARM TROPICAL WATER...ATMOSPHERIC MOISTURE AND LIGHT WINDS
ALOFT. WHEN AREAS OF DISTURBED WEATHER IN THE ATMOSPHERE
EXPERIENCE THESE INGREDIENTS THEY CAN COMBINE TO PRODUCE TROPICAL
STORMS AND HURRICANES WITH VIOLENT WINDS...INCREDIBLE WAVES AND
TORRENTIAL RAINS.

EACH YEAR...AN AVERAGE OF TEN TROPICAL STORMS DEVELOP OVER THE
ATLANTIC OCEAN...CARIBBEAN SEA AND GULF OF MEXICO.
TYPICALLY...ABOUT SIX OF THESE STORMS WILL BECOME HURRICANES. IN
AN AVERAGE THREE YEAR PERIOD...THE U.S. COASTLINE FROM TEXAS TO
MAINE WILL BE STRUCK BY ROUGHLY FIVE HURRICANES. OF THESE
HURRICANES...AT LEAST TWO ARE USUALLY MAJOR HURRICANES...WITH
WINDS IN EXCESS OF 110 MPH...SIMILAR TO HURRICANE FRAN AND HUGO.

A HURRICANE IS A TYPE OF TROPICAL CYCLONE...WHICH IS A GENERIC
TERM FOR LOW PRESSURE SYSTEMS THAT DEVELOP OVER THE TROPICS.
TROPICAL CYCLONES ARE CLASSIFIED AS FOLLOWS...

TROPICAL DEPRESSIONS...DEPRESSIONS ARE ORGANIZED AREAS OF LOW
PRESSURE RESULTING IN A SYSTEM OF CLOUDS AND THUNDERSTORMS WITH A
DEFINED SURFACE CIRCULATION. TROPICAL DEPRESSIONS ARE DEFINED AS
HAVING MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS OF 38 MPH OR LESS.

TROPICAL STORMS...TROPICAL STORMS ARE BETTER ORGANIZED SYSTEMS OF
STRONG THUNDERSTORMS WITH A DEFINED AREA OF LOW PRESSURE AND WINDS
OF 39-73 MPH.

HURRICANES...HURRICANES ARE INTENSE TROPICAL SYSTEMS WITH A WELL
DEFINED SURFACE CIRCULATION WITH MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS OF 74 MPH
OR GREATER.

HURRICANES ARE CATEGORIZED ACCORDING TO THE STRENGTH OF THEIR
WINDS. A CATEGORY ONE STORM HAS THE LOWEST WIND SPEEDS...WHILE A
CATEGORY FIVE STORM HAS THE MOST EXTREME. THESE ARE RELATIVE
TERMS...BECAUSE LOWER CATEGORY STORMS CAN SOMETIMES INFLICT
GREATER DAMAGE THAN HIGHER CATEGORY STORMS...DEPENDING ON WHERE
THEY STRIKE AND THE PARTICULAR HAZARDS THEY BRING. FOR EXAMPLE
TROPICAL STORM ALLISON...WHILE ONLY A TROPICAL STORM...CAUSED OVER
6 BILLION DOLLARS IN DAMAGE DUE TO FLOODING IN EAST TEXAS. ALLISON
WAS THE COSTLIEST TROPICAL STORM IN HISTORY. HURRICANE
FLOYD...WHICH WAS A STRONGER HURRICANE... CAUSED SIMILAR DAMAGE IN
NORTH CAROLINA ON A MUCH LARGER SCALE.

For additional information, check out the National Hurricane Center's Hurricane Awareness Website

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National Weather Service
Newport/Morehead City, NC Weather Forecast Office
533 Roberts Rd, Newport, NC 28570
(252) 223-5737
mhx.webmaster@noaa.gov
Page last modified: May 22, 2010
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