(TNS) - There is no hurricane activity threatening North Carolina at the moment, but now is a good time to be keeping watch on tropical storm activity in the Atlantic ocean.
“It’s that time of year. Mid-September is the peak of the (hurricane season),” said Erik Heden, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Newport, which includes 15 Eastern North Carolina counties in its forecast area, including Onslow, Craven, Lenoir, Duplin, Lenoir and Carteret counties.
Two storms churned in the Atlantic on Tuesday afternoon, one near landfall along the Gulf Coast and the other still too far offshore to know whether it will impact the United States.
The National Hurricane Center was issuing advisories for the Atlantic for Tropical Storm Gordon and Hurricane Florence and was watching a third disturbance that had a 30 percent chance of cyclone formation within 48 hours.
Tropical Storm Gordon was expected to make landfall Tuesday night but track northwest and well away from North Carolina.
“It is forecasted to hit southeast Mississippi and move up Louisiana and Arkansas and stay well west of North Carolina,” Heden said.
Florence churned in the Atlantic as a category 1 hurricane Tuesday afternoon, but it is too far off to know if there will be any impacts.
“It is way too early to say,” Heden said. “Right now, it looks like it would be well east of Bermuda by this weekend.”
According to NOAA’s Aug. 9 update for the Atlantic hurricane season, which ends Nov. 30, NOAA predicts a total of nine-to-13 named storms, of which four-to-seven will become hurricanes, including up to two major hurricanes.
Heden said there are no immediate threats but they are closely monitoring tropical storm activity and know that this time of year is the peak time of year for hurricane and tropical storm activity.
But any time is a good time to be prepared.
“It’s a reminder that we should always make sure we are prepared,” Heden said.
In a news release issued Tuesday from Gov. Roy Cooper’s office, September has been declared as North Carolina Preparedness Month to encourage residents and businesses to review their emergency plans and update their emergency supply kits.
“North Carolinians are resilient and have endured hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, mudslides, wildfires, winter storms and more,” Cooper said. “We know that planning and preparation pay off when a disaster strikes. Having simple emergency plans and basic supplies in place will help you survive storms and recover faster.”
The governor’s declaration coincides with National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, in which all Americans are encouraged to prepare for all types of emergencies.
In 2017, North Carolina saw 30 tornadoes, 548 severe thunderstorms with high winds, 102 hailstorms, 104 flood events and winter storms that caused power outages and dangerous driving conditions, according to the release.
Reporter Jannette Pippin can be reached at 910-382-2557 or Jannette.Pippin@JDNews.com.
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