Hurricane Season 2016: a letter to the Cape Fear Region - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Hurricane Season 2016: a letter to the Cape Fear Region

The First Alert Weather Team is making sure to keep you weather aware. (Source: WECT) The First Alert Weather Team is making sure to keep you weather aware. (Source: WECT)
The collective level of hurricane complacency and hurricane inexperience of a given area grows significantly if a long time elapses since a hurricane hits that area. (Source: WECT) The collective level of hurricane complacency and hurricane inexperience of a given area grows significantly if a long time elapses since a hurricane hits that area. (Source: WECT)
Hurricane season call to action: know your risk! (Source: WECT) Hurricane season call to action: know your risk! (Source: WECT)
Hurricane season call to action: always prepare! Hurricanes can hit in otherwise quiet seasons, they can hit after long hurricane "droughts", and they can hit in clusters. (Source: WECT) Hurricane season call to action: always prepare! Hurricanes can hit in otherwise quiet seasons, they can hit after long hurricane "droughts", and they can hit in clusters. (Source: WECT)
Hurricane season call to action: when a storm forms, focus on forecast impacts, not labels. Your First Alert Weather Team will always headline impact-based forecasts on television, online, and on your mobile device. (Source: WECT) Hurricane season call to action: when a storm forms, focus on forecast impacts, not labels. Your First Alert Weather Team will always headline impact-based forecasts on television, online, and on your mobile device. (Source: WECT)

Dear Cape Fear Region,

As I write this on June 1, the 2016 Atlantic Tropical Storm and Hurricane Season is officially underway. Your near-shore waters have already warmed to the upper 70s - close to the 80-degree threshold that supports strong tropical storms and hurricanes. And, the remnants of pre-season Tropical Storm Bonnie are, even at this very moment, swirling ocean-borne downpours onto your shores.

And I can't help but wonder, after having been blessed with many years of hurricane-free conditions: Are you ready, truly ready, if God-forbid, 2016 is the year that a hurricane finally puts you to a harsh test once again? 

The cores of Hurricanes Irene of 2011 and Arthur of 2014 barely but thankfully bypassed you. 2005 was the last time any part of a hurricane's eye wall brushed your shores (Ophelia). 1999 was the last time a hurricane dealt a direct blow to your coast and inland river basins (Floyd). And it has not been since 1996, two full decades ago, that a major Category 3+ hurricane directly assaulted you (Fran).

I pray your hurricane drought continues in 2016! But are you ready in case it does not? Are your residents assembling hurricane kits and formulating hurricane plans with as much zeal in 2016 as they did in 2000 or 2001 - when the scars and memories from the likes of Bertha, Fran, Bonnie, and Floyd were fresher and more vivid? 

Have your families, both lifelong and newly-transplanted, fully accounted for their changing disaster needs (new properties, new pets, new medicines, etc.) since the last big storm? 

And are your people taking advantage of newer technologies like online interactive flood risk maps, WECT Mobile Weather App storm alerts and tracks, etc. to stay best-informed in this digital age?

I hope the answer to all three of these questions is "Yes."

God Bless you!

Sincerely,
Gannon Medwick
WECT First Alert Chief Meteorologist

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