Hurricanes are getting stronger, scientists say

Reported by Colin Hackman - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Scientists believe hurricanes are getting stronger and say the next to hit the North Carolina coast could be the worst the area has seen.

Climate experts recently discussed the strengthening storms during the Carolinas and Virginia Conference.

"We spend a lot of time reading what we do, and not always a lot of time talking about what works, and what doesn't work," said Director Ryan Boyles with the NC Climate Office.

According to UNCW's Doug Gamble, "as the sea level is rising there is a greater potential for higher storm surge."

His Data shows ocean level rises due to global warming will likely have a significant, and unpleasant impact on the size and damage created from the deadliest component of a hurricane - the storm surge.

"Sea level has been going up and down since the history of the earth, so it's nothing new, it's just happening at a very fast rate," said Gamble.

The realization that this is going to be an increase in vulnerability an increase in natural hazards begs the question: how do we take this forward to make a safer community?

That question, scientists say, is exactly why the conference is taking place.

"Especially what we deal with a lot of the time is communicating, how do we communicate the science with all the folks that are sensitive to it," said Boyles.

Gamble's research shows, the message is clear - each hurricane on the horizon brings a danger that increases as the earths temperature does.

"For most of the coastal residents the best thing is to be aware," said Gamble.

Officials from city and county agencies across the south will use information presented at the conference to adopt policies regarding public safety, insurance, and emergency management.

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