05 – News & Views

Lou’s Views
News & Views / May Edition


Calendar of Events –

Most events have either been postponed or cancelled


Events
TDA - logo
Discover a wide range of things to do in the Brunswick Islands for an experience that goes beyond the beach.
For more information » click here


Calendar of Events Island –

All programs are temporarily on hold


Parks & Recreation / Programs & Events
For more information » click here


Reminders –



Trash Can Requirements – Rental Properties

Waste Industries – trash can requirements
Ordinance 07-13, Section 50.10


Rental properties have specific number of trash cans based on number of bedrooms.
* One extra trash can per every two bedrooms

§ 50.08 RENTAL HOMES.
(A) Rental homes, as defined in Chapter 157, that are rented as part of the summer rental season, are subject to high numbers of guests, resulting in abnormally large volumes of trash. This type of occupancy use presents a significantly higher impact than homes not used for summer rentals. In interest of public health and sanitation and environmental concerns, all rental home shall have a minimum of one trash can per two bedrooms. Homes with an odd number of bedrooms shall round up (for examples one to two bedrooms – one trash can; three to four bedrooms – two trash cans; five – six bedrooms – three trash cans, and the like).


Solid Waste Pick-Up Schedule
Waste Industries change in service, trash pickup will be twice a week. Starting the Saturday before Memorial Day through the Saturday after Labor Day: Pick-up is every Tuesday and Saturday from May 23rd through September 5th

 

Please note:
. • Trash carts must be at the street by 6:00 a.m. on the pickup day
. • BAG the trash before putting it in the cart
. • Carts will be rolled back to the front of the house


Solid Waste Pick-up Schedule – starting May 23rd twice a week

Recyclingstarting May 26th weekly pick-up


Waste Management Wants Consumers to Pay More as It Moves More Trash
Working from home, Americans produce more household waste, resulting in higher costs for trash haulers
Read more » click here


Yard Waste Service
Yard debris pickup will be provided twice a month on the 2ndand 4th Fridays during the months of March, April and May. Please have yard waste placed at the street for pick-up on Thursday night.

Yard debris needs to be secured in a biodegradable bag or bundled in a maximum length of five (5) feet and fifty (50) pounds in weight. A total of ten (10) items (bundles of brush/ limbs, bags) will be picked up by Waste Industries. Yard waste must be placed at the street for pick-up. No pick-ups will be made on vacant lots or construction sites.

Yard debris collection last pickup is on Friday, May 22nd


Vehicle Decals
The 2020 vehicle decals were distributed with the March water bills. Each bill included four (4) vehicle decals. It is important that you place your decals in your vehicle or in a safe place. A $10 fee will be assessed to anyone who needs to obtain either additional or replacement decals. Decals will not be issued in the 24-hour period before an anticipated order of evacuation.

The decals are your passes to get back onto the island to check your property in the event that an emergency would necessitate restricting access to the island. Decals must be displayed in the driver side lower left-hand corner of the windshield, where they are not obstructed by any other items. Officials must be able to clearly read the decal from outside the vehicle.

Property owners without a valid decal will not be allowed on the island during restricted access. No other method of identification is accepted in an emergency situation. Click here to visit the Town website to find out more information regarding decals and emergency situations.


Golf Carts
Golf carts are treated the same as other automotive vehicles.
Town ordinances state no parking anytime on OBW.
Therefore, golf carts are illegally parked when left by any beach access point.



Pets on the Beach Strand
Pets – Chapter 90 / Animals / 90.20
From May 20th through September 10th it is unlawful to have any pet on the beach strand during the hours of 9:00am through 5:00pm.

 


. .

A Second Helping
Program to collect food Saturday mornings (7:00am to 12:00pm) during the summer at the Beach Mart on the Causeway.

.


.
1) Sixteenth year of the program
. 2) Food collections have now exceeded 273,000 pounds
. 3)
Collections will begin on June 6th  and run through September 12th
. 4) Food is distributed to the needy in Brunswick County
For more information » click here

Hunger exists everywhere in this country; join them in the fight to help end hunger in Brunswick County. Cash donations are gratefully accepted. One hundred percent (100%) of these cash donations are used to buy more food. You can be assured that the money will be very well spent.

Mail Donations to:
A Second Helping % Douglas Cottrell
2939 Alan Trail
Supply, NC 28462

Website:
http://www.secondhelping.us/



Bird Nesting Area

NC Wildlife Commission has posted signs that say –
Bird Nesting Area / Please don’t disturb
The signs are posted on the west end beach strand


People and dogs are supposed to stay out of the area from April through November

. 1) It’s a Plover nesting area
. 2) Allows migrating birds a place to land and rest without being disturbed


Mosquito Control
Current EPA protocol is that spraying is complaint driven
The Town is unable to just spray as they had in the past
. 1)
Complaint based
. 2)
Citizen request
. 3)
Proactively monitor hot spots

They recommend that you get rid of any standing water on your property that you can
Urged everyone to call Town Hall if they have mosquito issues so that they can spray

Spraying is complaint based, so keep the calls coming!


Building Numbers
Ocean front homes are required to have house numbers visible from the beach strand.
Please call Planning and Inspections Department at 910.842.6080 with any questions.

§157.087 BUILDING NUMBERS.

(A) The correct street number shall be clearly visible from the street on all buildings. Numbers shall be block letters, not script, and of a color clearly in contrast with that of the building and shall be a minimum of six inches in height.

(B) Beach front buildings will also have clearly visible house numbers from the strand side meeting the above criteria on size, contrast, etc. Placement shall be on vertical column supporting deck(s) or deck roof on the primary structure. For buildings with a setback of over 300 feet from the first dune line, a vertical post shall be erected aside the walkway with house numbers affixed. In all cases the numbers must be clearly visible from the strand. Other placements may be acceptable with approval of the Building Inspector.



BOC’s Meeting
The Board of Commissioners’ next Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, June 16th
.


News from Town of Holden Beach
The town sends out emails of events, news, agendas, notifications and emergency information. If you would like to be added to their mailing list, please go to their web site to complete your subscription to the Holden Beach E-Newsletter.
For more information » click here


Volunteers needed
The Town is always looking for people to volunteer for their various boards and committees. If you are interested in serving, please fill out a resume form and submit it to heather@hbtownhall.com.


Recycling-Bin
Curbside Recycling

Waste Industries is now offering curbside recycling for Town properties that desire to participate in the service. The service cost is $93.29 annually paid in advance to the Town of Holden Beach and consists of a ninety-six (96) gallon cart that is emptied every other week.
Curbside Recycling Application » click here
Curbside Recycling Calendar » click here

 

Recycling renewal form was sent, you should have gotten e-mail letter already


Elevator - CRElevators
Most states mandate that elevator systems be tested and inspected annually. Currently the state of North Carolina does not require annual inspections to be performed on all elevator systems. The use of unsafe and defective lifting devices imposes a substantial probability of serious and preventable injury to your family and guests. It is in the owner’s best interest to minimize injuries and liability by scheduling an annual safety inspection to ensure the safe operation of their elevator system.


Library
If you need something to keep you busy in this colder weather, make sure to visit the island library. The library is in the upstairs of Holden Beach Town Hall. All the books were donated. Patrons of the library don’t have to check out a book; they are on the honor system to return it.



Neighborhood Watch –

Need to look out for each other
Call 911 if you see or hear anything suspicious
Fill out Keep Check Request Form if you will be out of town
• Submit completed Property Registration Form
• Pickup copy of Protecting Your Home


Upon Further Review –


Murder Investigation

Previously reported – May 2019
Modern technology meets old school: How law enforcement investigated the suspected Holden Beach murderer
The tiny beach town of Holden was rocked when 71-year-old Judy Brock was murdered, allegedly by her husband. Find out how authorities made their case using data stored by cell phone and internet companies.

Modern communications technology paired with old-fashioned interview tactics are helping at least nine agencies build a strong case against Phillip Brock, a 71-year-old indicted last week for the first-degree murder of his wife. From the day Brock first reported his wife missing until the first week of April, 15 search warrants have been issued. Some search warrants are what one might expect in a murder investigation: a property search, DNA and cheek swab collection, or bank transaction tracking. But others, like those with a 48-hour return directive — effectively a legal rush-order — to out-of-state companies including Yahoo!, Google, Inc. and Verizon Wireless, show how law enforcement agencies are taking advantage of ubiquitous data collection practices that are more often used to sell targeted advertising. Traditional investigative techniques, like noticing inconsistencies in an interview, opened up suspicion against Phillip Brock. Brock called 911 to report his wife missing at 3:16 p.m. on March 15. Fine-tuned location data — sourced from a cell phone — could further reveal Brock’s precise movement that day — information that could remove any doubt about his involvement in Judy Brock’s murder. And communication records, which were examined alongside cellphone use, could help the prosecution clear up any suspicion about Rhen Wise, Brock’s alleged mistress, and the extent — if any — of her involvement in the murder; initial communication records show Wise continued to communicate with Brock after his wife’s murder for five days, until his arrest on March 20. Warrants cite the pervasive nature of cell phone use as part of their usefulness in tracking behavior. Cell phones “generally geographically mirror their user’s pattern of movement over time,” multiple warrants in the Brock case state.

Suspicion
The investigation began as a missing person case. After Brock reported his wife missing, officers conducted an initial search of his waterfront Holden Beach home. No signs of forced entry were present. Initial forensics conducted on Judy Brock’s cell phone — which was left at the residence — showed her husband texted her at 8:02 and 8:03 a.m., with no response. He told investigators he left home that morning at 5:45 a.m. and that his wife was still sleeping. Forensics conducted on Brock’s phone showed data before and during March 15 had been deleted. According to the search warrant to Google Inc., issued on March 18, deleting communication records to conceal them from law enforcement can show “consciousness of guilt,” information that can help prosecutors frame motive and intent to commit a crime. Information Google Inc. provides — which according to the warrant is likely to be stored both inside and outside the U.S. — “may tend to identify potential witnesses and/or suspects” in a “chronological and geographic context.” These initial forensics also showed Google searches from two weeks prior for escort services near South Carolina. This information served as probable cause to serve the first two search warrants on March 18: the first to Verizon Wireless and the second to Google Inc. At this point in the case, Judy Brock’s disappearance was being investigated as an “endangered missing person suspected by foul play.” Investigators believed Judy Brock could still be alive. After issuing the first search warrant to Verizon Wireless on the afternoon of March 18, Major Laurie Watson with the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office re-faxed it twice the next morning, at 7:03 a.m. and at 8:51 a.m. with the urgent message: “I am requesting [range to tower records] as soon as possible in hopes of finding her alive.” According to the law firm Yavitch & Palmer, Verizon Wireless stores range-to-tower records, or RTT data. RTT data helps narrow down the distance from a device to a cell tower (or multiple cell towers) at the time of receiving or placing a call or text message. This type of data can track a device’s precise measurement to about one-tenth of a mile. But it’s only maintained by carriers for less than two weeks. Major Watson also requested the location of each of Verizon’s cell sites (equipment including antennas that transmit signals) and towers (the structures sites are attached to), including the horizontal beam widths and orientations of the cell sites.

Locking down location
It wasn’t until officers searched the Brocks’ Holden Beach property on Greensboro Street that they discovered data tying Phillip Brock to the crime. The property was searched on March 20, the warrant shows, which included a search of vehicles at the scene. Forensics from showed Brock’s 2018 Ford 150 revealed recent GPS locations in Sampson County — a location Brock told investigators he had not been to in months. The locations tied Brock to Wright Bridge Road – a 3.5-mile road that cuts around several acres of woods off U.S. 701 in Sampson County. Later that day, multiple law enforcement agencies found Judy Brock’s body in the same location, after discovering tire tracks and freshly disturbed ground off Wright Bridge Road. Phillip Brock was arrested at 5:30 p.m. following the discovery.

Ongoing investigation, expanded focus
New search warrants show the focus has expanded to Brock’s suspected mistress, who continued to communicate with him for at least five days after Judy Brock’s suspected time of death. Bank records revealed a financial relationship between Brock and Wise, in which Brock paid Wise’s phone bill, provided her with credit cards, and gave her funds and covered other expenses. The two also met in several hotels since 2018, according to an April 4 warrant for Wise’s Yahoo! records tied to her email account. Holden Beach Police Department, which still is handling the case according to a Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, did not respond to multiple inquiries. It’s not clear whether Wise is a suspect — as of April 29, Wise has not been arrested by the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office. It appears that, from an investigative side, the state has more than what it needs; after a review of Brock’s court file Wednesday, no new search warrants have been issued since April 4. On April 15, a grand jury returned a bill of indictment after hearing evidence presented by Watson and Detective John Duncan of the Holden Beach Police Department. Brock’s murder marks the first for the small beach town, home to less than 1,000 residents.
Read more » click here

Update –
Holden Beach man accused of killing wife to stand trial Nov. 16
The husband of Judy Brown Brock, who was murdered more than a year ago, is set to go to trial on a first-degree murder charge Monday, Nov. 16. Phillip Harry Brock, 72, was charged with murder in March 2019 and has been incarcerated at the Brunswick County Detention Facility since his arrest. Brock was indicted on a first-degree murder charge April 15, 2019, said assistant district attorney Glenn Emery, the lead prosecutor on the case. If Phillip Brock is convicted of first-degree murder, he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole, Emery said. Brunswick County Detention Facility records show Phillip Brock was booked into the jail at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 20, 2019, on a first-degree murder charge on no bail. The Holden Beach Police Department was the arresting agency. According to a Holden Beach Police Department news release, law enforcement agencies found Judy Brown Brock’s body in a wooded area in Sampson County on March 20, 2019.A Silver Alert was issued for her the previous Saturday by the North Carolina Center for Missing Persons. The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Ocean Isle Beach police, the North Carolina DMV License and Theft Bureau, Tri-Beach Volunteer Fire Department, Brunswick County Search and Rescue, the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office, Garland Fire Department and District Attorney Jon David assisted in the investigation, which is ongoing. Brock made his first court appearance at the Brunswick County Courthouse the morning after his arrest. District Court Judge Scott Ussery assigned Brock attorney Teresa Gibson of Shallotte as Brock’s provisional lawyer and denied Brock bail at the request of Assistant District Attorney Glenn Emery. Oak Island-based lawyer Ed Geddings is now representing Phillip Brock on the first-degree murder charge. Emery told Ussery in court in March 2019 that it appears Brock put out the Silver Alert for his wife to cover up his tracks, and law enforcement learned she had no cognitive impairments. Emery said Brock then turned off the GPS in his phone and attempted to turn off the GPS in his 2018 Ford F-150 but was unsuccessful, leading law enforcement to track his vehicle to Sampson County where his wife’s body was discovered.
Read more » click here


Dog Park
The dog park will remain closed for the foreseeable future. The Town needed to use the land at the dog park to place material from the canal dredging project as the dredge spoils area. It is unknown when it will be returned to a useable state as a dog park again. They are currently looking at other options for a dog park on the island.

Previously reported – January 2020
Dog park was utilized for canal dredging spoil site. We did some site ditching prior to Hurricane Dorian storm event to facilitate draining of the pond.

Intent is to reestablish pre-dredge capabilities which in order of priority are as follows:
.   1.
Permitted primary disaster debris management area
.   2.
Public Works lay down yard
  3.
Dog Park

Must maintain compliance with environmental permit and monitoring
Safety is the priority for this site, at present it is not ready for use


Four people spoke during the Public Comments session at the January BOC’s meeting, all in favor of creating a new Dog Park area. The park was utilized by people daily. We no longer have anywhere on the island to walk a dog safely. The nearest dog park for off leash activity is in Shallotte. I think we should make every effort to provide an area for dogs on the island. My recommendation is to utilize existing town property. The Town actually owns quite a bit of property. For instance, we have two parcels between BAW and OBW, across from Marker Fifty-Five, that were platted as streets but never put in; between High Point Street and Neptune Drive. We had previously discussed the possibility of creating parking areas out of them, one of them could be made into a dog park. Parking should be on the BAW side of the park, so it doesn’t get taken over by guests going to the beach. The designated area would be an additional recreational opportunity as well as an option for having dogs off their leashes instead of in unauthorized areas like the beach strand. As for allocating funds the cost should be paid for by the canal POA’s. You ask: Why? In April of 2014 we established the Dog Park on Town owned property at Scotch Bonnet Drive, at a cost of $19,000 sourced from BPART account. The Canal Dredging Project was mostly paid for from the Water Resources Development Grant of $1,439,922 which we secured in December 2017. According to Town Manager Hewett, “the Canal Dredging Project is paying all costs for the reconstitution of the Scotch Bonnet site to include installation of dog park facilities at that location.” That’s all well and good but meanwhile we do not have a dog park. It is my humble opinion that the right thing to do is for them to pay to create a temporary replacement dog park too.

NRPA Park Pulse: Americans Agree Dog Parks Benefit Local Communities
Local parks and recreation agencies provide dog parks for the areas they serve
Each month, through a poll of Americans that is focused on park and recreation issues, NRPA Park Pulse helps tell the park and recreation story. Questions span from the serious to the more lighthearted. With this month’s poll, we look at the possible benefits dog parks bring to their communities.

91% of Americans believe dog parks provide benefits to their communities

Availability of dog parks is especially popular among millennials (94 percent) and Gen Xers (92 percent) followed by baby boomers (89 percent) who agree dog parks provide benefits to communities.

Top 3 Community Dog Park Benefits:

      • 60% Gives dogs a safe space to exercise and roam around freely
      • 48% Allows dogs to socialize with other dogs
      • 36% Allows owners a chance to be physically active with their pet

For more information » click here


Corrections & Amplifications –


Holden Bridge Safety Railing Project

Previously reported – August 2018
Agenda Packet –
Safety Railing for the Holden Beach Bridge
It is the intent of the Department of Transportation to provide a bicycle/pedestrian railing atop the Town’s concrete bridge barrier, as an added safety improvement. They would like feedback from the Town on a preferred option for the safety rail. It seems as though they need an answer sooner than our normal meeting schedule allows.

I don’t think it is the manager’s call on this and feel the Board should review and make the recommendation. Please see the attached pictures and let me know if you have any questions.

Bridge Health Index
NCDOT is committed to measuring and improving its overall performance. One of the department’s goals is to make the state’s infrastructure last longer by setting a target for at least 70 percent of bridges rated to be in good condition or better. Good means that the bridge can safely carry the typical-sized commercial or passenger vehicles for that route. To achieve this goal, the department uses a data-driven strategy to improve the overall condition of all bridges in North Carolina by focusing taxpayer dollars where they’re needed most.

North Carolina Department of Transportation selected Holden Beach bridge as a High Value Bridge. They have allocated funding to make safety improvements and improve the expected life expectancy of the bridge. Work includes adding bicycle / pedestrian railing a safety improvement and also do basic repair to the substructure. NCDOT will pay the entire estimated $1.5 million to $2.0 million cost of the project. Work on the bridge is scheduled to begin in September. The estimated time frame to complete the work is the better part of eighteen months.

Chad Kimes Deputy Division Engineer informed the Board that NCDOT intends to install a bicycle / pedestrian railing on top of the concrete bridge barrier, which does not meet current safety standards, as a safety improvement. He asked the Board for feedback regarding what look did they want. The Board was given the opportunity to choose whether the rails would be vertical or horizontal and also select the color.

The Board chose to have three horizontal railings with an aluminum finish atop the concrete bridge barrier.

A decision was made – Approved (4-1)

Town Manager David Hewett said the bridge was never intended for bicycle and pedestrian traffic and putting up the railing up may give people the wrong impression. Commissioner Butler agreed with David and voted against the motion essentially saying we were creating an attractive nuisance. David asked whether the funds could be used to pave Ocean Boulevard West. Chad said the monies for resurfacing and for the bridge project are separate, so NO.

Previously reported – December 2018
Bridge Rehabilitation Project
As you may recall a couple of months ago, we presented two bridge railing options at your Commissioners meeting in reference to the Holden Beach bridge rehabilitation project, for your review and consideration. The Town chose the three horizontal rail design as shown in the attachment titled “Holden Rail Retrofit ­ Options 1 and 2.” Upon further consideration, we requested our design consultant provide a third railing option for the bridge rail retrofit, which I have attached, titled “Holden Rail Retrofit – Option 3.” The idea for this option came from the latest Surf City bridge design, which includes a smaller vertical “picket” than the option provided at the council meeting and may provide greater visibility. The support posts in this option are modified slightly as well.

The Town’s prior decision is still a perfectly valid option and it is not our intent to complicate matters with this proposal, we just wanted to extend this option to you, since it is also being extended to Ocean Isle Beach. We are currently under contract with Coastal Gunite Construction to perform the rehab work and will need to provide them with your choice of the 3 options. If you will please review the attachments and provide us with a response by Friday, December 14, 2018, if at all possible, it will be greatly appreciated and can help the project stay on schedule.

The contract has been awarded, NCDOT plan to spend 3.3 million dollars rehabilitating the bridge, part of the High Value Bridge Program, including adding safety railings which brings the wall from 27” to 48” to meet current safety criteria. The project is scheduled to start in January and is expected to take through October of 2019 to complete. The BOC’s selected the new third option which includes two horizontal aluminum bars with thin vertical pickets.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

The Surf City railing shown below is what we are getting minus the top horizontal bar.

Previously reported – February 2019
Planning Director Tim Evans met with the NCDOT to get more information about the project and made the presentation tonight. Most of the Towns concerns about activities being compromised during bridge maintenance project were addressed.

Previously reported – October 2019
The work on the bridge will not be finished until at least March of 2020 due to the decorative guard rail we selected.
Contract was awarded October 29, 2018 with the completion date for the contract to be October 1, 2019

Previously reported – April 2020
Traffic Alert
The contractor for the Department of Transportation is scheduled, weather permitting, to remobilize on Monday, April 27th to begin the rail retrofit work on the Holden Beach Bridge. Work will be conducted 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Mondays – Thursdays and 7:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. on Fridays. Drivers should expect delays due to lane closures during these times and should use caution in the work area.



Bridge Safety Railing Project
Work on the bridge safety railing has been delayed. COVID-19 restrictions have resulted in delayed fabrication and delivery of the rail. Work is scheduled to resume on June 15th.


I am shocked – shocked – that almost no work was done on the bridge safety railing project. Let me get this straight, they are going to do the project at the busiest time of the year on the island.

You can’t make this stuff up! 


Turtle Watch Program


Turtle Watch Program – 2020
. 1) Current nest count – four (4) as of 05/23/20
.   
Average annual number of nests is 39.5
. 2)
First nest of the season was on May 11th

Members of the patrol started riding the beach every morning on May 1 and will do so through October looking for signs of turtle nests.
For more information » click here

It’s Turtle Season on Holden Beach!
It’s official…. the turtle season has started!
Turtle Watch ATV riders are out looking for tracks of the mother turtle each morning.
Turtles usually start laying their eggs on our beach mid to late May.
The first turtle nest was laid on our beach this year on May 11th.
Last year the first nest was on May 9th which was the earliest date ever recorded.
It will take 55-60 days for these eggs to incubate.
They anticipate the first baby turtles on the beach in early July.


Odds & Ends –


Large great white sharks ‘converging’ off Carolinas. Is the weather a cause?
A sudden convergence of great white sharks is taking place off the Carolinas — from Cape Hatteras to Charleston — proving the apex predators are being mysteriously drawn to a tight strip off the coast. Satellite tags reveal seven great whites are within that area, with an eighth hovering at the South Carolina-Georgia border, near Hilton Head. Most (five) are sitting off Southport, near Wilmington.
Read more » click here

Tracking site » click here

Cluster of sharks in one spot off Carolinas coast grows more intense
The clustering of great white sharks off the Carolinas coast is growing more pronounced and mysterious, based on satellite tracking data shared Saturday on social media. Eight tagged great white sharks are now practically on top of each other along the border of North and South Carolina — and they represent the only sharks currently tracking along the East Coast, according to a map posted on Facebook by OCEARCH. Researchers began noticing a convergence of great white sharks off the Carolinas in late January, but the group was more spread out. Now the sharks are exhibiting a clear preference for the same spot off Southport, near Wilmington, the data shows. OCEARCH says the tagged sharks, ranging in size from 8 feet to nearly 13 feet, represent a tiny sampling of what is actually off the coast, meaning waters could be full of great
Read more » click here

Update –
There Are 15 Sharks Swarming The Outer Banks Of North Carolina Right Now
Read more » click here


Sharks of North Carolina
Read more » click here

Shark Attack
The chances of being attacked by a shark are very small compared to other animal attacks, natural disasters, and ocean-side dangers. Many more people drown in the ocean every year than are bitten by sharks. The few attacks that occur every year are an excellent indication that sharks do not feed on humans and that most attacks are simply due to mistaken identity.

Your chances of being attacked by a shark are just 1 in 11.5 million!

What Are the Odds? Long, Most Likely
Not everyone is at risk of a being bitten by a shark. 1 in 11.5 million is the rate of attacks in one year at 68 U.S. beaches and is based on attendance figures at the venues.
Read more » click here


Staying safe at the beach: Rip currents, jellyfish, sharks, and other hazards
A trip to the beach can turn deadly (or painful) due to natural hazards but being aware of risks and mitigating hazards is a good way to prevent problems.
Picture this: warm weather, blue skies, and your toes in the sand — it sounds like a perfect lazy summer day at the beach. Maybe you decide to cool down in the ocean and find yourself bobbing around when suddenly you realize you are a little too far out. As panic sinks in and you start to swim towards dry land you realize your efforts are in vain and your whole body is getting tired, all the while you are drifting further into the Atlantic — you have gotten stuck in a rip current. It’s not the only potential danger in the ocean, though. There are also sharks. And, of course, there are some things on shore that ruin your day at the beach, too, including stepping on jellyfish and, of course, good old-fashioned sunburn.

Rip currents
According to the U.S. Lifesaving Association (USLA), 80 percent of all ocean rescues are related to rip currents and annually more than 100 fatalities across the country are due to rip currents. While it is obvious that swimming at a beach with lifeguards is one of the safer options, there are plenty of area beaches that lack lifeguards or maybe ocean rescue season has not started just yet. So, what is the best course of action for surviving a rip current? According to the National Weather Service, there are several things swimmers should keep in mind when dealing with these often-unseen dangers.

  • Relax. Rip currents don’t pull you under.
  • A rip current is a natural treadmill that travels an average speed of 1-2 feet per second but has been measured as fast as 8 feet per second — faster than an Olympic swimmer. Trying to swim against a rip current will only use up your energy; energy you need to survive and escape the rip current.
  • Do NOT try to swim directly into to shore. Swim along the shoreline until you escape the current’s pull. When free from the pull of the current, swim at an angle away from the current toward shore.
  • If you feel you can’t reach shore, relax, face the shore, and call or wave for help. Remember: If in doubt, don’t go out!
  • If at all possible, only swim at beaches with lifeguards.
  • If you choose to swim on beaches without a lifeguard, never swim alone. Take a friend and have that person take a cell phone so he or she can call 911 for help.Sharks
    Sharks are a fear on most every swimmer’s mind, regardless of the actual dangers posed by the large predatory fish. “NOAA states that while shark attacks are rare, they are most likely to occur near shore, typically inshore of a sandbar or between sandbars where sharks can be trapped by low tide, and near steep drop-offs where sharks’ prey gather. While the risks are small, it’s important to be aware of how to avoid an attack,” according to previous reporting.

Suggestions from NOAA for reducing the risk of a shark attack include:

  • Don’t swim too far from shore.
  • Stay in groups – sharks are more likely to attack a solitary individual.
  • Avoid being in the water during darkness or twilight when sharks are most active.
  • Don’t go in the water if bleeding from a wound – sharks have a very acute sense of smell.
  • Leave the shiny jewelry at home – the reflected light resembles fish scales.
  • Avoid brightly-colored swimwear – sharks see contrast particularly well.Sunburns
    Most everyone has experienced a sunburn at one point in their life and while not often thought as a major concern for many, overexposure to UV light can cause serious long-term problems including skin cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using at least S.P.F. 15 sunscreen at least 15 minutes prior to sun exposure. Wearing a hat, long sleeves, and other protective clothing is also recommended to keep skin protected.

Jellyfish
Jellyfish and Portuguese Man of War have been spotted along the beaches of New Hanover County and surrounding area beaches already this season and the little floating creatures can pack a punch. Often times beachgoers will spot them washed up on shore and other times they can be spotted in the water, but it is best to avoid them when you can. “While all jellyfish sting, not all contain poison that hurts humans. Be careful of jellies that wash up on shore, as some can still sting if tentacles are wet. NOAA recommends that if you are stung by a jellyfish to first seek a lifeguard to give first aid. If no lifeguards are present, wash the wound with vinegar or rubbing alcohol,” NOAA suggests. And what about that … other method of treating stings? Turns out, it’s a myth. In fact, urine can actually aggravate the stinging cells of jellyfish, making things worse. These cells, which detach and stick into the skin of prey, can continue to inject venom. Urine, as well as fresh water, can cause an imbalance to the salt solution surrounding the stinging cells, causing them to continue to fire. According to Scientific American, if you don’t have vinegar or rubbing alcohol, rinsing with salt water may be your best bet.
Read more » click here


This & That


Holden Beach home destroyed in fire
Multiple fire departments and police responded to the call at 1018 Ocean Boulevard West  shortly before noon on Monday, May 11. One home was completely destroyed and the homes on each side of it were also damaged by the fire. There were also some small grass fires nearby from the ashes and embers. According to Holden Beach Police Chief Jeremy Dixon, the house was not occupied at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation but hasn’t been determined yet.

Tri-Beach Volunteer Fire Department
MISSION STATEMENT
The mission of the Tri-Beach Volunteer Fire Department is to protect the life and property of our citizens and visitors from fire and other emergencies through incident response, public education, and first response. As a customer driven organization, it is our mission and number one priority to deliver the best possible service to our customers.
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The island station #2 will have full-time staffing beginning May 24th from 7:00am to 7:00pm, during which time roughly 61% of the island calls happen.


Take a deep breath!
Report ranks Wilmington’s air among the cleanest in the country
Not only does Wilmington have breathtaking views, we apparently have breath-worthy air to go along with it. The latter ranking is according to the American Lung Association and its annual State of the Air Report 2020, which was released this week. Wilmington found itself among a list of four cities — including Bangor, ME, Burlington-South Burlington, VT and Urban Honolulu, HI — as the top-ranking cities for clean air. The determination includes ranks for ozone, year-round particle pollution and short-term particle pollution. Each city had zero high ozone days, zero high particle pollution days and have a top 25 ranking for lowest particle levels on a year-round basis. This is a repeat win for Wilmington and the other locales. But what is good in Wilmington is not apparently good elsewhere. The report states almost half of the United States population is breathing unhealthy air and air quality is declining. The study estimates about 150 million people are breathing what is considered dirty air.

You can read the full report from the American Lung Association at this link.
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Factoid That May Interest Only Me –


Summer Will Come; Crowds Are Still a Maybe
Hotels and amusement parks brace for a lost high season. Even if they get the go-ahead to open, will people come?

There is little sense whether, even if restrictions are lifted, a general apprehension of crowds or travel will prevail in the wake of the pandemic and how that could hurt seasonal businesses. If the peak summer months are lost, said Mr. Callewaert, who runs his family’s business on Mackinac Island, there is no way to get them back. “You’ll never catch up. Hopefully you’ll live to fight another day, that’s what you have to do,” he said. “You have to be in survival mode right now.”
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Summer tourists want to know: Will East Coast beaches open?
Maybe, but with some changes.

Realtor Michele DeRose had hoped the novel coronavirus pandemic would be subsiding by now so that residents and business owners in this popular beach town along the Jersey Shore could start to prepare for the crush of summer tourists. What’s begun instead, she said, are the phone calls that real estate agents and property owners dread: Some customers are asking for their money back amid signs that this summer could be the first in more than a century that vacationers are not welcomed on some of America’s most storied beaches. “We’re not getting any new requests for rentals right now,” she added. With the travel season less than six weeks away, would-be tourists and entrepreneurs alike are struggling to decipher whether the East Coast’s beach towns will open by Memorial Day — and if they do, how social distancing guidelines implemented to combat the spread of the coronavirus could reshape what is, historically, one of the country’s most communal activities. That’s the challenge confronting elected leaders from North Carolina to Maine, as the pandemic threatens to upend dozens of local economies in ways previously unthinkable, except for perhaps from an early season hit by a major hurricane. Over the past month, as the coronavirus spread, state and local officials banned sunbathing on beaches, shuttered boardwalks and pleaded with taxpaying second-home owners to stay away from their seasonal properties. Police in Dare County on North Carolina’s Outer Banks even blocked roads leading from the mainland to keep tourists away. For now, elected officials in many of these places say it’s still too soon to say when their beach towns may open to visitors as the number of infections and deaths continues to rise, including more than 75,000 coronavirus cases in New Jersey.
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Short-term rental agencies grapple with dashed vacation plans
Vacation rental companies from Wrightsville Beach to Ocean Isle Beach are working to make the best of uncertain coronavirus times

Area beaches may be reopening to guests looking for an escape from their homes, but the biggest lingering question for those who don’t own property on the coast is where they are going to stay. Short-term rentals of vacation homes are still banned at most beaches in Southeastern North Carolina, as part of the continued social restrictions to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus. As many places began to relax those restrictions in recent weeks, however, some eager beachgoers became confident the ban would be lifted when New Hanover County’s restrictions expired on April 29. Then leaders of the county’s beach towns extended the ban until May 8, mirroring Gov. Roy Cooper’s own extension of statewide stay-at-home orders. “We had some people call and book for right after April, and they were ready to move in for a short visit this weekend,” said Robert Huckabee, vice president of Sea Scape Properties in Wrightsville Beach. “But because of the new extension, we are going to have to reach out and reschedule those people.” The now more than a month-long ban has put a strain on vacation rental companies across the region, which would, in a normal year, be booking guests into their hundreds of properties nonstop at this point in the spring. “Obviously, our reservations and bookings have completely fallen off and we’ve had to give back a lot of refunds,” Huckabee said. “That is an unfortunate revenue loss for us, but we thought it was the best thing to do for our guests.” One unexpected boost to Sea Scape’s business, Huckabee said, was the University of North Carolina Wilmington announcing its spring commencement would be delayed until Aug. 7-8. That has allowed those families that booked stays for May to start re-booking for the rescheduled ceremonies. It is that kind of solid date that many in the vacation rental community are seeking from their local officials so they can communicate with some certainty to guests uneasy about booking in the coming months. “We have asked for some clear guidance from our town leaders, if they can provide it, because this is all open ended so far,” said Kristen Goode, marketing director with Oak Island Accommodations, which has around 500 rentals in the area. Brunswick County does not have a blanket ban of short-term rentals, but Oak Island continues to uphold its own restriction on all rentals of any kind. “There is just a lot of confusion from our guests who already have reservations on the books for the summer if they can come,” she said. “We, just like our guests, are trying to navigate the uncertainty of when we will be able to open again. We don’t have those answers yet. But I’m hopeful.” Still, even as the restrictions in some areas inch closer to the summer season, other municipalities are dropping theirs. Ocean Isle Beach lifted its ban on short-term rentals Thursday, an announcement that sent guests flocking to make reservations with Sloane Realty Vacations, which operates rentals in Ocean Isle and Sunset beaches. “We’ve definitely seen an increase in calls just in the last day since it was announced,” general manager Whitney Sauls said Wednesday. “There will be some weekend traffic for this coming weekend, but not much. It is mostly for late May and June.”

As these agencies work with guests to issue refunds or reschedule their vacations to more realistic dates in the summer, many are faced with a mixed bag of hesitancy and excitement. “Half of the guests who have reservations are concerned to travel and are being cautious,” Sauls said. “But we also have a lot of people looking forward to practicing social distance at the beach.” When the ban on short-term rentals does come down across the region, Huckabee said he sees regional travel being the main driver of beachgoing for the time being. It doesn’t require getting on a plane and interacting with more people than necessary. “If you’re at a distance like in Charlotte, you can just hop in your car and go,” he said. “That’s who we are seeing the bookings from right now.” These agencies are also reminding people that renting a vacation property versus staying at a hotel is actually a way to continue practicing social distancing while still getting a beach vacation. Goode said more than 400 of Oak Island Accommodations’ properties have keyless entry. “If you are from a drive-to market, you can go straight from your home without seeing anyone,” Goode said. “You don’t even have to see us.” Huckabee said their rentals have keyless entry as well and are cleaned by an in-house cleaning crew to ensure they are sanitary and safe. To make sure guests know the latest on the beaches, Sea Scape has also ramped up its online marketing after an uptick in website traffic with people stuck inside and browsing the options for the escapist vacation they are itching to plan.

In time, the rental industry will still have to grapple with the loss incurred by the coronavirus shutdowns, even if the beaches are reopened and the business is back for the official summer season between Memorial Day and Labor Day. “If you lose any of the business in those weeks, you are going to have to take a hard look at whether or not you can make up those numbers,” Goode said. “It may look like a different summer at the beaches with social distancing, but we are hopeful that those who want to travel and want to stay at our beaches will be able to again soon.”
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Resort Towns Ask: Will There Be Summer?
With Memorial Day weekend approaching, areas that rely on tourists say not reopening would be devastating economically but fear the consequences of opening too soon.

In summer resort towns across the United States, livelihoods for the year are built in the 15 weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day. It is during those 15 weeks that tourists from around the country and the world arrive to bask on the beach and gather for festivals and weddings. And it is during those three months that tour operators, hoteliers, innkeepers, restaurant employees and others earn the bulk of their income.
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Hot Button Issues
Subjects that are important to people and about which they have strong opinions


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Climate
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There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear

Global warming pushes April temperatures into record territory, as 2020 heads for disquieting milestone
Last month tied for the warmest April on record for the globe, as 2020 hurtles toward the warmest year milestone. New data, released Tuesday from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, lends further support to the prediction that 2020 will rank among the top two warmest years recorded. In April, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, using its own temperature monitoring data,
reported that there is a 75 percent chance that 2020 will become the planet’s warmest year since instrument records began in 1880, and very likely long before that. Human-caused climate change from increasing amounts of planet-warming greenhouse gases is vaulting temperatures higher, making it easier for a given month or year to set a new warmth milestone. Carbon dioxide is the most important long-lived greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, released by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil for energy and transportation. Assuming NOAA ranks April as having global average temperatures above the 20th-century average, it would be the 424th straight month to have that distinction. In other words, those who are 35 years old and younger have never experienced a cooler-than-average month on Earth.
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The Trump Administration Is Reversing Nearly 100 Environmental Rules.
Here’s the Full List.
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Climate Change Is Making Hurricanes Stronger, Researchers Find
An analysis of satellite imagery from the past four decades suggests that global warming has increased the chances of storms reaching Category 3 or higher.
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The strongest, most dangerous hurricanes are now far more likely because of climate change, study shows
Researchers find, for the first time, a statistically significant global trend, especially in the Atlantic
Read more » click here


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Development Fees
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Flood Insurance Program
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National Flood Insurance Program: Reauthorization
Congress must periodically renew the NFIP’s statutory authority to operate. On December 20, 2019, the President signed legislation passed by Congress that extends the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) authorization to December 20, 2019.

Congress must now reauthorize the NFIP
by no later than 11:59 pm on September 30, 2020.

FEMA and Congress have never failed to honor the flood insurance contracts in place with NFIP policyholders. Should the NFIP’s authorization lapse, FEMA would still have authority to ensure the payment of valid claims with available funds. However, FEMA would stop selling and renewing policies for millions of properties in communities across the nation. Nationwide, the National Association of Realtors estimates that a lapse might impact approximately 40,000 home sale closings per month.

NFIP reauthorization is an opportunity for Congress to take bold steps to reduce the complexity of the program and strengthen the NFIP’s financial framework so that the program can continue helping individuals and communities take the critical step of securing flood insurance.

The level of damage from recent catastrophic storms makes it clear that FEMA needs a holistic plan to ready the Nation for managing the cost of catastrophic flooding under the NFIP.

Flood insurance – whether purchased from the NFIP or through private carriers – is the best way for homeowners, renters, business, and communities to financially protect themselves from losses caused by floods.
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GenX
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Homeowners Insurance
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Hurricane Season

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AccuWeather’s 2020 Atlantic hurricane season forecast is out

About two months from now, the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season will officially begin, but AccuWeather meteorologists have already been hard at work examining the factors that could influence tropical activity this year. Forecasters are anticipating another busy year for the Atlantic Basin in 2020, on the heels of an active 2019 season. Led by Dan Kottlowksi, AccuWeather’s top hurricane expert, meteorologists this week released a 2020 Atlantic hurricane forecast. Kottlowski’s team is calling for 14-18 tropical storms during this upcoming season, which runs from June 1 through Nov. 30. Of those storms, seven to nine are forecast to become hurricanes, and two to four are predicted to strengthen into major hurricanes. “It’s going to be an above-normal season,” Kottlowski said. “On a normal year, we have around 12 storms, six hurricanes and roughly three major hurricanes.” The 2019 season marked the fourth consecutive year of above-average activity in the basin and was tied with 1969 for the fourth most-active hurricane season on record. Featuring hurricanes Dorian, Lorenzo and Humberto as well as Tropical Storm Imelda, the 2019 season resulted in 18 storms overall and caused more than $11 billion in damage. And there’s reason to believe the 2020 season could be every bit as active. As part of the method for formulating this season’s predictions, forecasters have drawn comparisons to previous years with comparable weather conditions — also known as analog years. This year, AccuWeather meteorologists have looked closely at the years 1980 and 2005.
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CSU forecast for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season: active
Meteorologists with Colorado State University issued their annual Atlantic Hurricane Season outlook Thursday, suggesting 2020 will be an active year for tropical storms and hurricanes across the Atlantic Basin. An average year in the Atlantic Basin features 12 named tropical systems, including 6 hurricanes and 3 major (Cat. 3+) hurricanes. The 2020 CSU forecast for the Atlantic Basin suggests there will be 16 named tropical systems, including 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes. Seasonal tropical weather outlooks naturally elicit cynicism from some consumers, but such forecasts have shown some skill over time. CSU says potential contributors to Atlantic tropical cyclone activity include: the expectation of a weak or absent Pacific El Nino and much warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures across portions of the Atlantic Basin, like the Gulf of Mexico. What no seasonal tropical forecast can say with any provable, repeatable skill is what coastlines will be impacted by tropical activity. One might argue that the Bahamian and Southeast U.S. portions of the Atlantic Basin are, at least statistically, due for a break after Hurricanes Joaquin, Matthew, Irma, Florence, Michael, and Dorian have ravaged the region since 2015. A break is indeed worth hoping for, but you never know until the actual season arrives and the individual storms develop. The best course, in any year and with any forecast, is vigilance and preparedness. Atlantic Hurricane Season officially begins June 1.
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Hurricane amid pandemic: ‘Nightmare scenario’
For coastal communities like Wilmington, the June 1 start of hurricane season couldn’t come at a worse time
Emergency managers run drills on handling multiple catastrophes at once, such as a cyberattack during a tornado or a mass shooting amid a destructive flood. But most disaster plots don’t involve a months-long pandemic sapping resources globally from aid groups and governments while so much of the nation is shut down, self-isolating and unemployed. Yet this is where officials find themselves in the run-up to the 2020 hurricane season, which leading forecasts predict will be the fifth consecutive year of above-normal activity. A forecast released Thursday suggests we could see four major hurricanes develop. The U.S. may still be battling the coronavirus outbreak when hurricane season officially begins June 1, and waves of infections could follow during peak months for storms in late summer and early fall.
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Atlantic Hurricane Season Is Less Than 6 Weeks Away,
But It Has Started Early 5 Straight Years
The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is less than six weeks away, but the past five seasons have each gotten off to an early start. Officially, the Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30. That time frame was selected to encompass 97% of all Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes, according to NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division.
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Hurricanes Could Be Slowing Down Due to Rising CO2 Levels,
And That’s Not a Good Thing

Scientists are warning that an increase in global warming could significantly slow down hurricanes, potentially leading to more destruction. While slowing down might sound like a good thing, the researchers are talking about the speed hurricanes progress, not wind speed. So, this slow down means more time to carve out a trail of destruction with both wind and rain when they hit land. The stark warning is based on meteorological data collected since 1950, as well as readings taken on more recent storms from the last few years, and forward projections created by computer modelling. Here the scientists are studying the ‘translational’ or forward motion of hurricanes, rather than the eye of the storm wind speeds. Because no matter how fast wind speeds are, the storm can still be slow moving.

For example, in 2019, Hurricane Dorian produced gusts of 295 kilometers (183 miles) miles per hour, but advanced at just a handful of kilometers an hour. That meant more time to batter properties and people, and to ditch more rainfall across a smaller place. If future hurricanes continue to follow the Hurricane Dorian pattern, then they are likely to be just as destructive, or even more so.

The research has been published in Science Advances.
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Atlantic Hurricane Season starts in June, here’s what to expect
The official start to the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season is June 1 and it appears that this year has no intention of letting up as forecasters are predicting a higher-than-average number of storms this season.  Each year several different forecasters including
The Weather Company, Colorado State University, and Tropical Storm Risk (based out of the University College London) make their predictions for the upcoming hurricane season. This year, experts all agree that the conditions are right for above-average tropical storms and hurricanes. From 1981 — 2010, the average number of named storms in the Atlantic basin has been 13; last year there was a total of 18 named storms, four of which were category 3 or higher. This year The Weather Company is predicting 18 named storms and Colorado State University and Tropical Storm Risk are calling for 16. “The TSR (Tropical Storm Risk) April forecast update for North Atlantic hurricane activity in 2020 anticipates a season with likely above-norm activity. Based on current and projected climate signals, Atlantic basin tropical cyclone activity is forecast to be 25% above the 1950-2019 long-term norm and 5-10% above the recent 2010-2019 10-year norm. The forecast spans the period from 1st June to 30th November 2020 and employs data through to the end of March 2020,” according to TSR. Forecasting is not an exact science and it is important to keep in mind that even just one storm could have a significant impact on homes, property, and lives. The Weather Company also points out that just because they are predicting a higher-than-average season, it does not mean that any of the storms will directly impact the United States. “There is no strong correlation between the number of storms or hurricanes and U.S. landfalls in any given season. One or more of the 18 named storms predicted to develop this season could hit the U.S. or none at all. That’s why residents of the coastal U.S. should prepare each year no matter the forecast,” according to the Weather Company. The predicted active season can be attributed to warmer ocean temperatures as well as weak La Niña conditions. “El Niño/La Niña, the periodic warming/cooling of the equatorial eastern and central Pacific Ocean, can shift weather patterns over a period of months. Its status is always one factor that’s considered in hurricane season forecasting,” according to the Weather Company. The warmer ocean waters also play a role in how active a hurricane season will be, and water in the Atlantic is already heating up. “Much of the Atlantic’s waters are already warmer than average as of mid-April. The Gulf of Mexico is also several degrees above average, given recent heat and the lack of rain over the Southeast. Taken as a whole, Atlantic Basin sea-surface temperatures are currently at record-warm levels, “supporting a big season,” Dr. Todd Crawford, chief meteorologist at The Weather Company said.

Hurricane Preparedness Week
Regardless of the prediction, living in a coastal region like the Cape Fear area means residents are at risk of being impacted by a hurricane, and being prepared is key.

This week is Hurricane Preparedness Week and the National Weather Service is offering tips for residents to prepare before any storms are even formed.

Some of these tips include:

  • Know your zone: Do you live near the Gulf or Atlantic Coasts? Find out if you live in a hurricane evacuation area by contacting your local government/emergency management office or by checking the evacuation site website.
  • Put together an emergency kit: Put together a basic emergency. Check emergency equipment, such as flashlights, generators and storm shutters.
  • Write or review your family emergency plan: Before an emergency happens, sit down with your family or close friends and decide how you will get in contact with each other, where you will go, and what you will do in an emergency. Keep a copy of this plan in your emergency supplies kit or another safe place where you can access it in the event of a disaster. Start at the ready.gov emergency plan webpage.
  • Review your insurance policies: Review your insurance policies to ensure that you have adequate coverage for your home and personal property.
  • Understand NWS forecast products, especially the meaning of NWS watches and warnings.
  • Preparation tips for your home from the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes
  • Preparation tips for those with Chronic Illnesses
    Read more
    » click here

Hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones are becoming stronger, according to a new NOAA study
It is becoming increasingly evident that hurricanes, typhoons, and tropical cyclones worldwide are becoming stronger and potentially more deadly as the globe warms due to the climate crisis, according to a new study. The study, released on Monday by researchers at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), looked at nearly 40 years of satellite data of global storms. Researchers found that the probability of storms reaching major hurricane status (category 3 or above on the Saffir-Simpson scale with winds in excess of 110 mph or higher), increased decade after decade.
Read more » click here

Climate Change Is Making Hurricanes Stronger, Researchers Find
An analysis of satellite imagery from the past four decades suggests that global warming has increased the chances of storms reaching Category 3 or higher.
Read more » click here

The strongest, most dangerous hurricanes are now far more likely because of climate change, study shows
Researchers find, for the first time, a statistically significant global trend, especially in the Atlantic
Read more » click here
 

Busy Atlantic hurricane season predicted for 2020
Multiple climate factors indicate above-normal activity is most likely
An above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is expected, according to forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. The outlook predicts a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season and only a 10% chance of a below-normal season. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30.
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Inlet Hazard Areas
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Lockwood Folly Inlet
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Seismic Testing / Offshore Drilling
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Solid Waste Program

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Things I Think I Think –

Dining #2Eating out is one of the great little joys of life.

Restaurant Review:
Dinner Club visits a new restaurant once a month. Ratings reflect the reviewer’s reaction to food, ambience and service, with price taken into consideration.
/// December 2019
Name:            Martini          
Cuisine:         Continental
Location:      98 Highway 17 South, N Myrtle Beach SC
Contact:        943.249.1134 /
https://martininmb.com/

Food:              Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:         Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:    Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:               Inexpensive <=$18 / Moderate <=$24 / Expensive <=$30 / Exorbitant <=$40
Rating:          Two Stars
This popular establishment went through a change of ownership and name in 2013. What was originally Martini’s Restaurant & Piano Bar is now simply just Martini.
A favorite among locals, the restaurant is ranked #4 out of @219 restaurants located in North Myrtle Beach. It was just all right, neither the food nor the service was what one would expect from upscale dining establishments.  Having said that, I have no idea why the rave reviews. Relax while listening to the live entertainment in the piano bar lounge and take advantage of the great deals at Happy Hour, you should check it out if you have not already.


NC restaurants opened their doors again
Restaurants, which previously had only been allowed to offer takeout, can now open their dining rooms at 50% capacity, as long as social distancing and other guidelines are followed. Tables must be spaced out six feet apart, and shared spaces and surfaces must be cleaned constantly.


Book Review:
Read several books from The New York Times best sellers fiction list monthly
Selection represents this month’s pick of the litter
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AMERICAN DIRT
by Jeanine Cummins
The story is about the ordeal of a Mexican woman who had to leave behind her life, after a drug cartel murders the rest of their family, and escape as an undocumented immigrant to the United States with her son. Cummins novel brings to life the ordeal of migrants, who risk everything to try to cross into the U.S., looking for a better life.


.That’s it for this newsletter

See you next month


Lou’s Views . HBPOIN

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.          • Identify the issues and determine how they affect you

.          • Act as a watchdog
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