EASTERN CAROLINA - Only two hurricanes have made landfall in North Carolina in the last three years, Hurricane Arthur and Hurricane Irene. Here is how the two storms stack up.
Hurricane Irene may have formed across the ocean and Arthur in the Caribbean, but once they tracked by out coast the storms had eerily similar paths.
The two eyes hit within only six miles of each other.
- Landfall: July 3, 2014 in Shackleford Banks, NC
- Category 2 hurricane at landfall
- 90 mph sustained wind at landfall
- 4-5 foot peak North Carolina surge
- 4.18" peak rain fall
- Landfall: August 27, 2011 in Cape Lookout, NC
- Category 1 hurricane at landfall
- 85 mph sustained wind at landfall
- 7 foot peak North Carolina surge
- 15.66" peak rain fall
When assigning a category strength to a hurricane, the only thing that is considered is the peak wind speed. Hurricane Arthur had a higher peak wind speed at landfall, around 90 mph. Irene's peak wind speed at landfall was around 85mph.
Even though Arthur was a "stronger" storm, Irene had bigger impacts. In our state, Irene did more than $1.2 Billion dollars in damages and claimed seven lives. Arthur did not have a single fatality.
There are a few reasons Irene had a bigger impact. The first is the wind field. Within Irene, hurricane force winds reached three times farther than they did in Arthur.
Reach of Hurricane Force Winds from the eye:
Arthur: 35 miles
Irene: Irene 90 miles
Reach of Tropical Storm Force Winds from the eye:
Arthur: 150 miles
Irene: Irene 290 miles
Irene also tracked at a slower speed, allowing it to create more surge than Arthur.