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Hurricanes approach NC from the south - anywhere from the southwest to the southeast

Fig 5.1.1: Recent tracks of hurricanes approaching NC


Fig 5.1.2: Hurricane Fran (1996) before landfall


Hurricane development and dynamics



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Start off African coast, usually fully formed, mature hurricanes when they arrive over NC


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Fig 5.1.3:  Cross-section through a mature hurricane Fig 5.1.4: Plan view of mature hurricane, emphasizing the spiral, banded nature of the flow.





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Season starts in June, but most hurricanes - at least those affecting NC - occur in September-October
Fig 5.1.5:  Cumulative frequency of hurricanes throughout the season. Fig 5.1.6: Many occur alone, but often they follow each other in rapid succession.  In this case, all three did not influence NC, but see Fig 5.1.? for cases when several did occur together.


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North Carolina Hurricanes

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Fig 5.1.?:  1999 storm tracks.


The impact of hurricanes


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    The major concerns of hurricanes are for wind, rain and flooding.

       Most hurricanes give some amount of coastal flooding.  This is usually associated with the piling up and driving inland of the ocean waters.  So the floods move inland from the coastline.  As they do so that may also dam the seaward flowing river waters, increasing the amount of flooding.  Storm surge floods treated here (not in 5.3)


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Fig: Coastal flood-prone areas


Fig 5.1.?:  Tracks of hurricanes leading to major flooding.


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