Last year was a much quieter year along the coast of North and South Carolina. For the first time since 1997, a storm or hurricane did not make direct landfall over the Palmetto or Tar Heel state. It was much needed relief for residents of that area, who are still recovering from the devastating deluge brought about by Hurricane Floyd nearly two years ago.
Furthermore, Floyd was just the latest in a series of storms that pummeled the Carolinas, particularly North Carolina since 1994. However, a recent study indicates that the coastal storms are not always the culprit. Rather, it is storms that come up from the Gulf of Mexico or other parts of the Southeast that seemed to have caused the greatest mischief in the past.
According to a study conducted by Joel Cline, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service stationed in the North Carolina capital of Raleigh, many cities and towns in the Western and Central portion of North Carolina have been hit hard by a hurricane, tropical storm, or depression that has crept up on that particular region.
Take for instance, 1997, which was the last time before last year that the Tar Heel state was not hit with a landfalling hurricane during the course of a hurricane season, Hurricane Danny had weakened over the Southeast, but regenerated over the saturated land of North Carolina.
Danny then brought heavy rains to Charlotte as well as other big cities throughout the state. Then, there was Tropical Storm Jerry in 1995, which brought a deluge of heavy rain to the mountainous regions of North Carolina as the rugged terrain of that region generated lift in the atmosphere, and squeezed out the abundance of tropical moisture that was available.
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While the coastal storms such as Gordon, Bertha, Fran, Bonnie, Dennis, and Floyd have captured the attention of many of the coastal residents along North Carolina's historic beaches and barrier islands, they have not necessarily been the culprit. Only Floyd brought significant problems to inland regions of the state.
That is largely because when hurricanes get in the vicinity of the Carolina coast, they are usually heading due north or northeast, which makes it difficult for them to move over inland regions of the Tar Heel state. Another example of this was Hurricanes Diane (1984) and Gloria (1985), which brushed the Cape Hatteras area before moving to the north, or out to sea.
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