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May 14: Near-Record Heat Again, Hurricane Preparedness Week

WEATHER

A flat-out HOT weekend has led us into a toasty start to the work week -- we set or tied record high temperatures in the Triangle and in Fayetteville yesterday, and we're in for more near-record heat today:

It's not just the heat...dew points will be steady in the mid 60s, which isn't dreadful, but also isn't where we want to be on the "muggy meter": That humidity will make it feel a degree or two hotter than the air temperature this afternoon. We'll see just a slight storm chance today, but that will change later this week.

A disturbance over the Florida peninsula this morning is producing widespread rain over the Sunshine State:

As that disturbance drifts to the northwest over the next 48 hours, it could take on tropical or sub-tropical characteristics -- regardless of whether it becomes a numbered or named storm, it will be sending tropical moisture surging northward later this week. Just a modest increase in our rain chances on Tuesday, as shown here by the North American model's radar simulation:

Our rain chances increase significantly on Wednesday...and once they go up, they're not going down any time soon. The long-range American model loop from Wednesday through Sunday shows waves of rain moving through:

It won't rain everywhere all the time, but total rainfall from Wednesday through Sunday will range from 2" to over 3": That's enough for some localized flooding problems, and at minimum it will be difficult to get anything done outdoors. The Weather Prediction Center (a branch of NOAA) has us outlined in a "Marginal Risk" of excessive rainfall already on Wednesday: We'll keep you updated on the specific timing of each day's rain chances on a daily basis as the whole scenario unfolds -- this is a setup that makes it really hard to pin down the hour-by-hour timing more than 24 hours in advance.

Increasing rain chances mean decreasing temperatures, but we'll still be running a few degrees above average in between the showers and thunderstorms, with plenty of humidity to make things feel sticky:

 

NORTH CAROLINA HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS WEEK

This week we (in cooperation with the National Weather Service) will be highlighting a different topic each day, to get you ready for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season. Today’s topics include storm surge and developing an evacuation plan.

One of the greatest potentials for loss of life related to a hurricane is from the storm surge. Storm surge is simply water that is pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around the storm. This advancing surge combines with the normal tides to create the hurricane storm tide, which can increase the mean water level to heights impacting roads, homes and other critical infrastructure. In addition, wind driven waves are superimposed on the storm tide. This rise in water level can cause severe flooding in coastal areas, particularly when the storm tide coincides with the normal high tides.

Because much of the United States' densely populated Atlantic and Gulf Coast coastlines lie less than 10 feet above mean sea level, the danger from storm tides is tremendous. The storm surge combined with wave action can cause extensive damage, severely erode beaches and coastal highways. With major storms like Katrina, Camille and Hugo, complete devastation of coastal communities occurred. Many buildings withstand hurricane force winds until their foundations, undermined by erosion, are weakened and fail. Storm surge can travel several miles inland and can also span hundreds of miles of coastline.

It is important to keep in mind that storm surge is not a factor in the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. Even a tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane can have a devastating storm surge if the proper conditions exist. In other words, don’t assume that a tropical storm or a hurricane on the low end of the Saffir-Simpson Scale will not have a large or significant storm surge. Be sure to stay informed and pay close attention to storm surge forecast details regardless of the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale rating.

Because central North Carolina is away from the coast, the storm surge isn't a primary concern in our immediate area -- but many people have second homes or favorite vacation spots along the Atlantic shore, which is why we're spending time highlighting this particular threat. The first thing you need to do is find out if a particular location is in a storm surge hurricane evacuation zone, or if you’re in a home or rental property that would be unsafe during a hurricane. If you are, figure out where you’d go and how you’d get there if told to evacuate. In most cases, you do not need to travel hundreds of miles. Identify someone, perhaps a friend or relative who doesn’t live in an evacuation zone or unsafe home, and work it out with them to use their home as your evacuation destination. Those of us in central North Carolina can help by planning to be the inland evacuation destination for friends and family closer to the coast. Be sure to account for your pets, as most local shelters do not permit them. Finally, be sure to put the plan in writing for you and those you care about.

For more information about hurricane preparedness, please visit the following web sites:

 

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