Beg pardon, y'all, THIS is the correct hurricanes/floods article : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Sorry, have been putting up shelves all morning, didn't know there was a problem until Taz e-mailed me and I read the thread (thanks, Taz!).

Many hurricane deaths occur inland, meteorologist warns

As hurricane season begins, residents of inland counties should take note that flooding after a hurricane can be deadly.

By J. ANDREW CURLISS, Staff Writer

The hurricane season opens today with a dose of sobering news for the Triangle: People in inland counties -- not on the nation's coastlines -- are more likely to die when the big storms sweep ashore with winds, rain and heavy surf. And for the most part, the killer isn't the wind. Or the ocean. It's the flooded creeks, streams, rivers and lakes that swell up for days after a storm is long gone, said Joel Cline, a weather service meteorologist in Raleigh who once worked at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Cline and others have analyzed three decades of storm figures in advance of this year's tropical season, which begins today, peaks in September and ends Nov. 30. Those figures show that 6 of every 10 people who died in hurricanes since 1970 were killed in inland counties. And of those, about 7 of every 10 died in flooding. Experts see some success in the numbers, mostly in a steady decline of deaths attributed to "storm surge," the wall of water pushed ashore by a hurricane's strong winds. But they now see gaps in educating people of a hurricane's consequences inland. Cline is scheduled to outline his figures today to state emergency management officials in Raleigh. Then, he'll begin a media blitz across the Triangle, Sandhills and Piedmont that he hopes will help to prevent any more inland deaths. "We seem to know that it's not safe to go to the coast in a hurricane -- the warnings for the most part are being heeded there," Cline said. "And so our thinking is changing. The killer used to be the storm surge. That was fact. But we need to turn our attention to inland areas. That's where our people are dying." It's particularly important now because experts think the Americas may be on the threshold of a decades-long period of increased hurricanes -- fueled by shifts in deep ocean currents, increased rainfall in Africa and warmer global temperatures. Many are predicting 1999 will be an above-average year for the storms, with at least three severe hurricanes forming with winds greater than 110 mph. An average season has 10 tropical storms and six hurricanes, two of which are severe. "It can be a worrisome thing," said Jay Barnes, director of the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores and author of "North Carolina's Hurricane History." "There has been this lull for several decades in the frequency of hurricanes, and it's coincided just at the time that we've seen a tremendous amount of growth on the coast. There is a lot of property out here that is vulnerable." But only the Old Farmer's Almanac ventures a guess of where -- or when -- such storms will make landfall. Mixed in with planting tables and "zodiac secrets," the Almanac says a hurricane or tropical storm will threaten Georgia or the Carolinas from Sept. 27 to Sept. 30. Still, cities across the state -- not just on the coast -- have been taking notice. Since Hurricane Fran walloped much of the Triangle in 1996, officials in Raleigh, Durham and elsewhere have used grant money to buy up flood-prone houses and structures. More than half of the two dozen people killed in Fran died in inland counties, most because of fallen trees or in traffic accidents. Cline said his figures cover all U.S. deaths, though North Carolina data are in line with the trend. "People used to think, 'Hey, we're in Wake County. We're far from it. We're safe,' " Cline said. "We don't want that type of thinking anymore. We want everyone to be particularly aware of the risks hurricanes bring, even in the Triangle." He said North Carolinians should watch hurricanes that strike any U.S. coastline because many eventually affect parts of the state. Cline said that anyone who lives near a body of water, no matter the size, or in a mobile home should evacuate to higher ground as any tropical storm approaches. People should pay close attention to all flood warnings, and should not walk or drive near any creek, stream or river that has left its banks. Parents should keep an eye on children under age 13 -- they are the single biggest group of people killed in hurricane flooding. "A lot of times, people are just curious," Cline said. "They want to run down and look at the creek because it's as high as it's ever been. Well, I'd say that's plain stupid."

-- Old Git (, June 21, 1999


DEAR git, could the fact that there has been an unusual-influx' of coastal-folks' coming into so.-west??are they=GI,s?---p.s your garden-articles are super. ever tried fish-for-fertilizer? bet you got plenty where your at.

-- al-d. (, June 21, 1999.

al-d, NC has people pouring in every day, big boom state, don't think we're losing many to the SW, don't think there are more than about 8 GI's anywhere in the area! Glad you like the garden stuff, yes, know about the fish but am a vegetarian so won't work for me. In central NC anyway, couple or three hours from the coast. Will be back in a few weeks with more garden stuff--getting our stuff out of storage this weekend and all my much-loved books will be home again. Now, back to my shelves!

-- Old Git (, June 21, 1999.

Thanks Old Git,

Give me a 5.0 - 5.5 earthquake anyday.



-- Diane J. Squire (, June 21, 1999.

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