US Army Corps of Engineers
Wilmington District

Pre-season Forecast:

On December 5, 2012, Tropical Storm Risk (TSR), a public consortium consisting of experts on insurance, risk management, and seasonal climate forecasting at University College London, issued an extended-range forecast predicting an above-average hurricane season. In its report, the organization called for 15.4 (±4.3) named storms, 7.7 (±2.9) hurricanes, 3.4 (±1.6) major hurricanes, and a cumulative Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index of 134, citing the forecast for slower than average trade winds and warmer than average sea surface temperatures. While no value was placed on the number of expected landfalls during the season, TSR stated that the land falling ACE index was expected to be above average.

Atlantic Names

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Alberto
Beryl
Chris
Debby
Ernesto
Florence
Gordon
Helene
Isaac
Joyce
Kirk
Leslie
Michael
Nadine
Oscar
Patty
Rafael
Sandy
Tony
Valerie
William

Andrea
Barry
Chantal
Dorian
Erin
Fernand
Gabrielle
Humberto
Ingrid
Jerry
Karen
Lorenzo
Melissa
Nestor
Olga
Pablo
Rebekah
Sebastien
Tanya
Van
Wendy

Arthur
Bertha
Cristobal
Dolly
Edouard
Fay
Gonzalo
Hanna
Isaias
Josephine
Kyle
Laura
Marco
Nana
Omar
Paulette
Rene
Sally
Teddy
Vicky
Wilfred

Ana
Bill
Claudette
Danny
Erika
Fred
Grace
Henri
Ida
Joaquin
Kate
Larry
Mindy
Nicholas
Odette
Peter
Rose
Sam
Teresa
Victor
Wanda

Alex
Bonnie
Colin
Danielle
Earl
Fiona
Gaston
Hermine
Ian
Julia
Karl
Lisa
Matthew
Nicole
Otto
Paula
Richard
Shary
Tobias
Virginie
Walter

Arlene
Bret
Cindy
Don
Emily
Franklin
Gert
Harvey
Irma
Jose
Katia
Lee
Maria
Nate
Ophelia
Philippe
Rina
Sean
Tammy
Vince
Whitney

 

Since 1953, Atlantic tropical storms had been named from lists originated by the National Hurricane Center. They are now maintained and updated through a strict procedure by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The six lists above are used in rotation and re-cycled every six years, i.e., the 2012 list will be used again in 2018. The only time that there is a change in the list is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate for reasons of sensitivity. If that occurs, then at an annual meeting by the WMO committee (called primarily to discuss many other issues) the offending name is stricken from the list and another name is selected to replace it. Several names have been retired since the lists were created. 

If a storm forms in the off-season, it will take the next name in the list based on the current calendar date. For example, if a tropical cyclone formed on December 28th, it would take the name from the previous season's list of names. If a storm formed in February, it would be named from the subsequent season's list of names.

In the event that more than twenty-one named tropical cyclones occur in the Atlantic basin in a season, additional storms will take names from the Greek alphabet.

Of the 19 named storms that formed, 10 became hurricanes.  One of those hurricanes, Michael, reached major hurricane status.  Activity for 2012 was well above the 30 year (1981-2010) average for named storms and hurricanes, and below average for major hurricanes.  The 1981-2010 seasonal averages for the Atlantic basin are 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.  In terms of accumulated cyclone energy, which measures the combined strength and duration of tropical storms and hurricanes.  Tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic basin during 2012 was about 40 percent above the 1981-2010 median.  
Of the 20 named storms, 7 reached hurricanes strength and 4 of these reached major hurricane status (winds of 110mph). It featured an above average number of tropical storms with a near normal number of major hurricanes. The first tropical cyclone, Tropical Storm Arlene, developed on June 28, while the season's last storm, Tropical Storm Sean, dissipated on November 11. The most intense storm, Ophelia, was a Cape Verde-type hurricane that became a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale at unusually high latitude. The season featured a record sequence of weak tropical storms, beginning with Tropical Storm Arlene, and ending with Harvey. The season's first hurricane, Irene, was a powerful Category 3 hurricane that made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1, causing significant damage and record flooding to the Northeast United States. The season tied 2010, 1995, and 1887 for the third highest number of tropical storms.

Tropical events have impacted nearly all of North Carolina at one time or another, several examples of this include:

Western North Carolina is not immune to the affects of decaying tropical storms as evident in the 2004 season when the remnants of Charley, Francis and Ivan crossed western North Carolina and In September 2004 the remnants of Hurricane Frances, a Gulf Coast land falling storm, brought heavy rainfall to Western North Carolina resulting in widespread severe flooding across the mountains and foothills resulting in $10.5 million dollars in property damages. Major flooding developed along the French Broad River, which reached a near-record stage of 25 feet at Blantyre, and 21 feet in Canton. 

Hurricane Floyd, September 199, caused the largest peace time evacuation in the nation’s history and caused massive record flooding across inland sections of eastern North Carolina. At one time Floyd was classified as a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir/Simpson scale and will likely be categorized as one of the nation's most costly hurricanes in the 20th century. The greatest rainfall report was from a Cooperative observer in Washington...15.48 inches.

Hurricane Fran moved onshore near Cape Fear on a Thursday evening in September 1996, and raced north toward Raleigh bringing hurricane force winds to the State Capital (Raleigh) and central North Carolina in 1996. The Category 3 hurricane destroyed or damaged 90% of the homes in North Topsail Beach. Hurricane FRAN was the worst natural economic disaster to occur in North Carolina history. In the NWS Raleigh (RAH) county warning area alone, the damage exceeded 2 billion dollars. It took more than 10 days for power to be restored in many areas.

The last hurricane to make landfall in North Carolina was Irene in 2011.  Irene was a Category 1 hurricane when it made landfall near Cape Lookout, North Carolina’s on August 27, 2011, with 85 mph winds.  At least 55 fatalities occurred in the Caribbean, with another 10 in U.S. and Canada. Damages from Hurricane Irene totaled $10.1 billion (2011 USD).