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What's Drifting

  • Something in the Water
    The water quality of the Cape Fear River was a major concern in 2017 There is no doubt that it will ... read more
  • Winter Thaw
    What a difference 50 degrees can make Last Thursday there was a layer of snow on the ground four inc... read more
  • Working the Weather Window
    It s less than one week before Christmas but you wouldn t know it by stepping outside As I write thi... read more

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Riding the Storm Out.

With summer ending and the advent of Fall, we thought we had dodged the bullet yet again. We were wrong. With El Nino in play, the weather gurus had predicted an active hurricane season. Over recent years their predictions had mostly proved to be wrong. But in a game of odds, eventually you turn out to be right at some point. This turned out to be their year, with a series of tropical systems rolling in through September. They turned out to be the opening act, with the main event now unfolding off the coast of Florida. Hurricane Matthew is now predicted to make landfall in South Florida as a Category 4 storm, the largest, most intense storm the region has seen in years. The forecast for Southeastern, NC is a bit more positive with the storm's track taking it off the coast as a Category 1. We will certainly see impacts such as gale force wind, storm surge, and torrential rain.  The intensity and duration are still open questions that will only be answered once the storm arrives. After the storm departs we will take stock of the damage done. Hopefully it will be minimal. How large storms alter the natural landscape is interesting to consider. With a predicted 5 to 10 ft. storm surge, beach erosion is practically a given. Years ago a paddler was exploring some primitive islands in the Cape Fear, after a large storm had impacted the area. While walking around Campbell Island he stumbled upon a large, dugout canoe. This turned out to be a Native American vessel hundreds of years old, which may well have been buried by a storm of similar magnitude. Tropical systems, like wildfires, are a natural phenomena in our neck of the woods. How we weather them has changed. What they reveal about the past just might be instructive for the future. What buried secrets might Hurricane Matthew reveal in the Cape Fear region? That is still an open question, but one that might be answered soon enough.....


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