Meteorologist John Cole says that North Carolina "sticks out like a sore thumb" in the water, and residents are "just asking for it" when it comes to getting hit by big storms.
Cole, warning coordination meteorologist from the National Weather Service in Newport, was the guest speaker at the Havelock Chamber of Commerce monthly "Lunch and Learn" meeting last week.
Cole gave a presentation to the group about hurricane and severe weather climatology.
He has been working in the area since 2003 and has developed a good sense of what residents can expect from the weather.
Looking back at recent and historic storms, Cole presented information about the tracking of tornados and hurricanes and the damaging impacts of strong winds and high water.
Although the coastal plain is often seen as the "Tornado Alley" for hurricanes, the National Weather Service does all it can to the keep residents of the shoreline safe.
Cole said the Newport office is a leader within the weather service in terms of warning area residents to the potential of severe weather.
"We’re better than the national average for lead time," said Cole.
Forecasters there do everything from reading charts to making internal service assessments that figure out what the service did right and what they could have done better in a severe weather case.
He recalled the June 10 tornado in Jacksonville where he said the weather service didn’t make the call in providing warning for the storm.
"We missed it," Cole said.
When it comes to hurricanes, for which there is usually much warning time, Cole said everyone should be prepared for the season by having a plan for evacuation and a disaster supplies kit that will keep residents safe for three to five days.
For the upcoming hurricane season, Cole said predictions call for around 12 storms.
"Bigger, stronger hurricanes this year", said Cole.
The season started June 1 and ends Nov. 30, with September being the peak month for storms.
Stephanie Duncan, executive director of the Havelock Chambers of Commerce, said the meeting with Cole was to provide valuable information that the members, businesses and public can use.
For more storm information, look online at weather.gov or websites of the Federal Emergency Management Agency or the American Red Cross.