I start watching the tropical weather pages in mid-August every year. I like to see what is coming across the Atlantic, nice to be prepared both at home and for work. It has been a quiet season up until now. On Thursday there was a single storm out there. Yesterday there was a storm, a tropical depression and an "invest" (a weather pattern worth watching for possible development). And then today we have two tropical storms - Ana and Bill - a tropical depression and an invest. Things are heating up.
The mid-Atlantic has had it easy to the last couple of years, it seems all the storms have gone to Florida or the gulf coast. Checking the hurricane/tropical storm records for our area, they show just Cristobal in 2008 and Barry in 2007. Ophelia paralleled Hatteras Island in 2005. Three storms - Alex, Bonnie and Charlie (note the names, those were the first three named storms of the year) - caused a lot of flooding in the outer banks in 2004. Isabel was our worst storm in recent memory, causing a lot of damage in 2003.
That is Buxton, the village near Cape Point on Hatteras hours before Isabel came ashore. The storm surge rose up over the dunes and washed over the barrier island.
And this is the north end of Hatteras Village the morning after the storm. There had been a two story building attached to those steps. It was picked up and moved a few hundred yards across the island. Isabel caused a lot of damage to property, fortunately there were no fatalities in the outer banks from the storm (there were deaths caused directly and indirectly by the storm as Isabel moved inland).
I'll be watching the storms as they develop. I think the best spot to get information about tropical weather is the WeatherUnderground's tropical weather page. Jeff Masters had a great blog there where he gives play by play for the storms. I've added WeatherUnderground's gadget to this blog, you'll see it to the right. That's a nice little tool and an easy way to track storms.
I've always heard that September 10 is considered the peak day of hurricane season - odds are there is a storm somewhere on that day. Hopefully things will be quieting down by late September when we cast off from the dock in Crisfield, Md.