November hurricanes: A rarity to make landfall in U.S.

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – We all know hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th, but even though we’re still in the midst of it, experts say it’s very uncommon for a system to make landfall as a hurricane this late in the game.

As Nicole moves across the Carolinas and Virginia Friday, experts like WITN meteorologist Russell James, are giving context to its rather late arrival.

“Nicole is the first tropical system to make landfall as a hurricane, at hurricane intensity, in over 37 years,” James explained. The last system to make landfall as a hurricane in the U.S. (in November) was Hurricane Kate in 1985.

Before that it dates back to Hurricane Seven in 1935, before hurricanes were even named. What’s more typical, is for tropical storms to make landfall in November. In fact, it happens once every few years.

Coastal oceanographer Rick Luettich said the tendency for systems to form before and after the technical date of hurricane season, is getting more common.

“Over the last dozen or so years, we’ve seen several storms coming up in late April to May before the beginning of what we typically consider to be hurricane season,” he said.

It makes sense when you look at data that shows the ocean’s temperature is rising, which generates energy for systems to form.

“It’s warming up earlier in the year, and it’s warm later in the year, so all of those are fairly consistent with a longer hurricane season,” Luettich explained.

It is a reminder to always be ready for mother nature to strike.

“We can get storms at any time of year, even if it doesn’t seem like it is typical,” said James. He recommends always having a hurricane preparedness kit ready.

Hurricane Hazel, the strongest and only category four hurricane to ever hit the North Carolina coast, was also the latest major storm in the season to hit. It was in October of 1954.

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