The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 30th. The season peaks from mid-August to late October, with an average of five to six hurricanes per year. Hurricanes are "born" as tropical systems over the warm ocean waters. It graduates to a tropical depression when the system reaches sustained winds of 38 miles per hour. A tropical depression becomes a tropical storm and receives a name when the sustained winds exceed 39 miles per hour. When a storm's sustained wind speed reaches 74 miles per hour, it becomes a hurricane. Hurricanes are categorized on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with category one as the lowest and category five as the most destructive.
Unfortunately, many people believe that they have been through a major hurricane when in reality, the nature of storms we have experienced have been mild to moderate in intensity. We have not experienced a strong category 3, 4, or 5 hurricane. Hurricane Fran in 1996 produced an 11 foot storm surge here at Wrightsville Beach. Hurricane Hugo in 1989 produced a 20 foot storm surge in South Carolina. A 20 foot storm surge would be catastrophic. When the next hurricane comes, pay close attention to weather updates and bulletins. A house is not worth losing your life.
Watch vs. Warning
A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible in a specified area within 72 hours. This is the time to buy perishable goods and those items with a shelf life such as batteries. Put your plan into action.
A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions will affect a specified area within 36 hours. All of your storm preparations should be complete. At this point officials will be making determinations if and when evacuations will be necessary. All flood zones should be ready to evacuate. The entire community of Wrightsville Beach is a flood zone. Be ready.
Be sure to stay tuned to local news and forecasts. Subscribe to our emergency notifications by clicking here. Sign-up for the New Hanover County Emergency Notification system by clicking the link on the left side of this page. Stay informed!