North Carolina Sea Grant
Coastwatch Currents

Coastwatch Currents

October 2, 2015 | Rebecca Nagy


Rebecca Nagy is a communications intern with North Carolina Sea Grant. She graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in English and a minor in environmental science.

Posted Oct. 2, 2015

Satellite image of Hurricane Joaquin.

Satellite image of Hurricane Joaquin from a Facebook post on the National Hurricane Center page at 6 a.m., Oct. 2. Photo courtesy NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center.

While it looks like North Carolina and much of the East Coast will avoid direct landfall by Hurricane Joaquin, the effects of heavy rain and flooding still are being felt by much of the region.

Hurricanes are just one of the hazards that commonly take place in fall. Fortunately, the National Weather Service’s Fall Safety Campaign provides valuable safety and preparedness resources, as well as  information to share through social media. The fall safety campaign began Sept. 1 and runs through Nov. 30.

Do you have what it takes to be weather ready? Here are hazards associated with autumn, and resources to make sure you and your family are prepared.


Hurricane infographic

Photo: NOAA

Hurricane season runs through Nov, 30, peaking between mid-August and the end of September. There are many hazards associated with hurricanes, including storm surge, heavy rainfall, inland flooding, high winds, tornadoes and rip currents.

If you live near the coast, it is important to know your evacuation plan, and make sure you and your family have a communication plan. Visit the National Hurricane Center for more information.

El Niño

The NWS Climate Prediction Center has predicted a strong El Niño this winter.

According to NOAA’s National Ocean Service, during an El Nino phase, warmer-than-average water temperatures in the Eastern equatorial Pacific can influence weather around the world. Find out more about the weather pattern here.

Depending on your area, this hazard may impose wetter, dryer or warmer conditions than usual. To learn more about how El Niño can impact your area go here.

Solar Storms

Solar storms, or an extreme space-weather event, can knock out the electrical power grid, leaving communities without power. To be prepared for these outages, keep extra batteries or have a hand-crank charger. The National Weather Service suggests any emergency kit should contain enough food and water for the entire family for a minimum of three days. For more information on space weather, visit here.


This year, the western United States already has seen extensive damage from wildfires. If wildfires are prevalent in your area, know your evacuation route and make sure your house is firewise. There even are resources on firewise landscaping practices in specific states, including North Carolina. To learn more about wildfires, go here.

Winter Weather

Snow, wind chill, ice and frost. While we may be a few months away from winter, that doesn’t keep early winter weather from creeping in. Most winter fatalities are due to car accidents. Slow down and only venture into this weather if necessary. Build an emergency preparedness kit for your home and car to go the extra mile.


Turn Around Don’t Drown! It takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away a small car, while 2 feet of rushing water can carry away most large vehicles. Six inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. And remember that water may look shallower than it really is.


Wind infophraic.

Photo: NOAA.

Windy conditions are common in the fall. Straight-line winds can exceed 100 mph, and can knock over semi-trucks, trees and power lines. They also can topple mobile homes and send dangerous debris flying through the air. If caught in strong winds, seek shelter. Avoid trees, power lines and objects that could blow around. Learn about wind safety here.


The historic drought in California has grabbed headlines all year. Take action to conserve water by checking pipes in the home for leaks, and practice fire safety. During a drought, it is best to follow directions from local officials on water use and burn bans. Learn more about droughts here.

This information was adapted from NOAA’s Weather-Ready Nation fall safety website. For more information on all seasonal safety campaigns, visit

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