It looks like it will be a busy year as we head into the tropical season. The National Weather Service posted their updated forecast on Thursday and they expect the busiest season since 2005. Those that remember 2005 know that Katrina was one of several hurricanes that hit the United States that year. We were comparatively lucky in eastern North Carolina with only one storm that came close to our coast. Ophelia brought gusty winds and heavy rainfall but it was concentrated along the Crystal Coast area. It is far too early to make a call on this year but with an active season expected, it would certainly cause folks in our area to be aware of potentially dangerous conditions later in the summer and early fall. A normal tropical season has 10 named storms, 6 of which become hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes that reach category 3 status or higher. This season the National Weather Service expects 14 to 23 named storms, of which 8 to 14 become hurricanes and 3 to 7 major hurricanes. The main reason for the concern is the extremely warm tropical Atlantic Ocean water this year. Also, a developing La Nina in the Pacific Ocean tends to increase the tropical threat along the Gulf and East Coast.
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