GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Hurricane Wilma slammed South Florida on October 24, 2005 as a Category 3 storm with winds of 125 miles per hour.
That was the last time a major hurricane hit the United States. While the 10-year major hurricane drought in the U.S. is unprecedented, it’s not necessarily a signal of things to come.
“A lot of people might think there’s some reason for this and maybe it has to do with climate change or something like that, but I don’t think there’s a really strong physical reasoning behind this right now,” said Scott Curtis, an atmospheric science professor at ECU.
However, a storm doesn’t have to be a major hurricane to cause major damage.
“We’ve had some strong storms in the past 10 years that haven’t been Category 3 because their winds haven’t reached that threshold, but they’ve still had some bad impacts such as strong surge and heavy rain,” Curtis said.
Hurricane Irene in 2011 is a good example in the East. The Category 1 storm caused five deaths in North Carolina and billions of dollars in damage, mainly due to storm surge and flooding from heavy rain.
Many experts believe the major hurricane drought is simply a case of dumb luck. Random or not, people may not be as ready as they need to be.
“I think that’s the biggest impact on society is the fact that we just might not be as prepared for the next storm that might come,” Curtis said.
The National Hurricane Center is pushing that it only takes one campaign on social media for this reason.
They’re hoping it encourages more people to get hurricane-ready.
Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project predicts there’s a 30-percent chance a major hurricane could make landfall in the U.S. this season.