2015 Top 5 Weather Events in southeast North Carolina

2015 Top 5 Weather Events in southeast North Carolina
Ana causes damages at Freeman Park. (source: WECT)

SOUTHEASTERN NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) - Weather shapes our lives in many different ways. About 95 percent of days in the year, it's figuring out whether you need an umbrella or if you can wear shorts to head out and about. The other 5 percent of days are more disruptive and can have an effect on people's livelihoods.

We had our fair share of weather events just this year, from ice to thunderstorms, tropical systems and flooding, we've had it all. Here's a look at the top 5 weather events that shaped our year in southeastern North Carolina. 
5) July 23: Wilmington Microburst 
A warm, humid afternoon with highs around 90° and the approach a potent shortwave of energy led to clusters of thunderstorms to erupt soon after noon. As the storms grew in coverage, they also grew on intensity. One particularly strong storm moved through northern New Hanover County during the early rush hour. This particular cell produced a strong downburst, clocking wind speeds estimated at 90 mph near New Centre Drive, toppling trees and causing damage to several homes and businesses near Market Street.  
4) Late February Ice Storm 
One of the coldest Februarys on record was getting ready to wrap up, but Mother Nature wanted to throw last punch to end the month. A quick-moving storm system brought Atlantic moisture into the region early on a Tuesday morning over a cold, dry air mass. Precipitation started as snow in Wilmington, but as temperatures aloft warmed well above freezing through mid-morning, we transitioned to freezing rain. The day started with less than 1/2" of snow and ended with almost 1/2" of ice accrual, causing issues on roads and causing some power outages. 
3) May 21: Bolton Tornado 
An unseasonably warm afternoon with highs straight out of the late-July playbook and the approach of a low pressure system sparked scattered storms in the Sandhills. A storm moving out of Bladen County merged with a second storm moving through Columbus County; these two storms merging made enough spin in the atmosphere to produce an EF-1 tornado, just east of downtown Bolton around 4:15 p.m. The tornado stayed on the ground for 5 miles, causing lots of tree damage and did severely damage one mobile home off US 74 / 76, where a child was taking cover. Thankfully, he was able to leave the home with no injuries.  
2) Tropical Storm Ana 
A rare-pre season tropical entity began to form off the southeast coast May 7 over the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. Weak steering and a blocking area of high pressure helped to move Ana close to the Carolina Coast. At peak intensity, Ana hoisted wind speeds near 60 mph while it was still well offshore. It moved onshore just north of Myrtle Beach just before sunrise on May 10th, spreading heavy rains, gusty breezes across the entire area and brought tidal flooding to our barrier islands. 
1) Historic October Flooding 
A strong upper low and a channel of moisture streaming off Category 4 hurricane Joaquin brought historic flooding to, not just southeast North Carolina, but also much of the state of South Carolina. Though we were spared a hit from the hurricane, the damage caused by the flooding was immense and is still causing issues to this day due to high water tables that cannot hold anymore water. Many locales in our areas picked up 8 - 12 inches of rain, while spots in southern Brunswick and Columbus Counties received upwards of 20 inches.  
No matter what the situation, you can count on the First Alert Weather team to get you through the typical days and the not-so typical days. 
Copyright 2015 WECT. All rights reserved.