Hurricanes that strike the Gulf Coast in June can be as deadly or more deadly than those that hit later in the season, one researcher warns.
William Merrell, a hurricane researcher at Texas A&M University at Galveston, says that Gulf-formed hurricanes can strike quickly.
Gulf-originated storms generally occur earlier in hurricane season than Atlantic hurricanes, Merrell adds, noting that June is the busiest month on record for Gulf-originating storms.
Quite often, hurricanes that arise in this region also tend to speed up and intensify as they make landfall, Merrell said. That contrasts with tropical cyclones- hurricanes and tropical storms- that arise in the Atlantic Ocean basin, which don’t tend to speed up and generally weaken upon landfall.
Merrell had this advice for Gulf Coast residents in preparing for hurricanes, ”If you see a hurricane in June, be worried that it may accelerate and intensify. It could end up being much worse than initially expected.”
While Tropical Storm Andrea won’t reach hurricane status, it did form in the Gulf and strengthened as it moved toward the Florida peninsula, causing drenching rains and spawning tornadoes.
Tropical Storm Andrea has brought rain, wind, and power outages to the Carolinas Friday. Tornado watches were in effect a day after several tornadoes were spawned in Florida.
The storm was racing through South Carolina early Friday and was expected to move into eastern North Carolina by midday, causing thousands to lose power and streams to swell.
Derrec Becker with the South Carolina Emergency Management Division said Andrea has been little more than a severe thunderstorm so far. No injuries have been reported and there have been no reports of significant damage.
Becker said emergency planners and first responders are getting the chance to test their hurricane procedures.
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