Quiet hurricane season so far, but is that a good thing?
Fri, 06 Sep 2013 21:35:50 GMT —
The 2013 hurricane season is near its historical peak and it's one of the calmest in years.
After predictions of a busy season, there have been no hurricanes in the Atlantic so far and nothing even close to forming.
That's good news, but Horry County Emergency Management Director Randy Webster fears people on the Grand Strand have forgotten how bad a hurricane can be.
Webster says September 3, 2008, as Hurricane Hanna skirted our coast, was the last time Horry County activated its emergency operations center.
He says it's great the county has avoided tropical storms since then, but he's concerned residents will get complacent and emergency responders could lose their sharpness.
"None of us really have a good feel for the long haul of an event such as (Hurricane) Hugo, because I was not in this position when I was here for Hugo. There's a huge point of reference problem," Webster said.
This spring, forecasters predicted an active season, with 18 named storms, 9 hurricanes and 4 intense hurricanes.
Instead, there's been no hurricanes so far, but the National Hurricane Center warns, there's still plenty of time.
"Even though we've had a quiet first half of the season when it comes to the development of hurricanes, it could be a very big mistake to believe the second half of the season is going to resemble that," said the NHC's public affairs director Dennis Feltgen.
Going back to the 1850's, Feltgen says there have been 13 other years when the first hurricane formed after September 6, and many of those years had major damaging storms.
Still, Webster says this year shows that pre-season hurricane forecasts are very unreliable.
"I don't tout the forecasts in our discussions with the public, because I think that can lead to even more resistance or complacency, of 'You're trying to scare us into doing something.' "
Webster points out the two worst storms to hit our coast, Hazel in 1954 and Hugo in 1989, were both late season storms, in September and October so, we're far from being out of the woods this year.