Jesse Ferrell

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10 Years: TS Arthur vs. Hurricane Alex 2004

July 1, 2014; 1:57 PM ET

UPDATE 7/2: Arthur is looking like quite the healthy storm today!


On July 30, 2004, I was on vacation at Oak Island, North Carolina, when I blogged* this: "This is about as lucky as I get. Friday afternoon July 30th, a tropical depression formed off the coast of the Carolinas. By Monday night it was a full-fledged hurricane passing less than 75 miles from our ocean front beach house."

This week, we also have the first Tropical Storm (likely-to-be-Hurricane) Arthur, which has formed off the Southeast U.S. coast. The tracks are remarkably similar (Alex became a hurricane offshore from the North/South Carolina border; Arthur is projected to do the same thing - the GFS model image for Thursday night is shown below). I pulled both tracks from our Interactive Hurricane Tracker and overlaid them in Photoshop:

WARNING: Arthur's track will not be updated on this blog entry. Please see for the latest track.

Alex 2004 was the first time in the Internet era that my vacation dovetailed with a hurricane, and you can see more radar images and photos from Hurricane Alex on this blog, re-published online for the first time since 2005. I saw some high waves, a funnel cloud and a rainbow; as a weather enthusiast, I was satisfied with the photographic opportunities.

The center of the storm stayed offshore from my location, but Hurricane Alex caused damage on the Outer Banks to my northeast. Winds peaked at over 100 mph and more than 7.5 inches of rain fell there (early indications are that Arthur will bring lesser amounts over a similar area).

This page says: "More than 100 houses were damaged primarily from flooding and high winds, while numerous cars were disabled from the flooding. Damage totaled about $7.5 million. Alex produced strong waves and rip tides along the East Coast. Despite Tropical Storm Warnings, tourists remained on the Outer Banks because Alex was expected to be relatively minor, and there was no evacuation order."

Let's hope the local officials evacuate this time, or we could see a repeat of Alex, essentially the worst-case scenario, taking place. I mentioned the possible parallel with Alex 2004 on Facebook Saturday.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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Jesse Ferrell
Jesse Ferrell's WeatherMatrix blog covers extreme weather worldwide with a concentration on weather photos and Social Media.