Weather Preparedness

Although it has been some time since the Town of Winterville experienced hurricane conditions, we should remain in a constant state of readiness. The Town is making the necessary plans and encourages our citizens to prepare as well. Citizens should make preparations including: maintaining emergency preparedness kits, other household items that may be needed, and a written plan based on where you live in relation to the vulnerability of wind and flooding. The items below are recommendations and additional preparations may be necessary.

Basic Hurricane Safety Actions

  • Know if you live in an evacuation area. Know your home's vulnerability to storm surge, flooding, and wind. Have a written plan based on this knowledge.
  • At the beginning of hurricane season (June 1), check the supplies for your disaster supply kit, replace batteries, and use food stocks on a rotating basis.
  • During hurricane season, monitor the tropics.
  • Monitor NOAA Weather Radio. It is an excellent / official source for real-time weather information and warnings.
  • If a storm threatens, heed the advice from local authorities. Evacuate if ordered.
  • Execute your family plan

What can you do?

  • When you hear hurricane, think inland flooding.
  • Determine whether you live in a potential flood zone.
  • If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Keep abreast of road conditions through the news media.
  • Move to a safe area before access is cut off by floodwater.
  • Do not attempt to cross-flowing water. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
  • Develop a flood emergency action plan.
  • Have flood insurance. Flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance. Do not make assumptions. Check your policy.

The ingredients for a hurricane include a pre-existing weather disturbance, warm tropical oceans, moisture, and relatively light winds aloft. If the right conditions persist long enough, they can combine to produce the violent winds, incredible waves, torrential rains, and floods we associate with this phenomenon.

Each year, averages of eleven tropical storms develop over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. Many of these remain over the ocean and never impact the U.S. coastline. Six of these storms become hurricanes each year. In an average 3-year period, roughly five hurricanes strike the US coastline, killing approximately 50 to 100 people anywhere from Texas to Maine. Of these, two are typically "major" or "intense" hurricanes (a category 3 or higher storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale).

What is a Hurricane?

  • Sustained winds
  • Tropical Depression
  • Tropical Storm
  • Hurricane
    An intense tropical weather system of strong thunderstorms with a well-defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 mph (64 kt) or higher.
    Hurricanes are categorized according to the strength of their winds using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. A Category 1 storm has the lowest wind speeds, while a Category 5 hurricane has the strongest. 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. In fact, tropical storms can also produce significant damage and loss of life, mainly due to flooding.
  • An organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39-73 mph (34-63 kt)
  • An organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds* of 38 mph (33 kt**) or less
  • A 1-minute average wind measured at about 33 ft. (10 meters) above the surface.
    ** 1 knot = 1 nautical mile per hour or 1.15 statute miles per hour. Abbreviated as "kt".

Hurricane Names

When the winds from these storms reach 39 mph (34 kts), the cyclones are given names. Years ago, an international committee developed names for Atlantic cyclones (The History of Naming Hurricanes). In 1979, a six-year rotating list of Atlantic storm names was adopted — alternating between male and female hurricane names. Storm names are used to facilitate geographic referencing, for warning services, for legal issues, and to reduce confusion when two or more tropical cyclones occur at the same time. Through a vote of the World Meteorological Organization Region IV Subcommittee, Atlantic cyclone names are retired usually when hurricanes result in substantial damage or death or for other special circumstances. The names assigned for the next several seasons can be found here.

A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone, which is a generic term for a low-pressure system that generally forms in the tropics. The cyclone is accompanied by thunderstorms and, in the Northern Hemisphere, a counterclockwise circulation of winds near the earth's surface. Tropical cyclones are classified as follows:

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