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08 – Town Meeting

Lou’s Views

“Unofficial” Minutes & Comments

BOC’s Public Hearing / Regular Meeting 08/15/23

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet click here

Audio Recording » click here

Public Hearing

PUBLIC HEARING: Final Application for the Block Q Restroom Facility as Part of the 2023 – 2024 Public Beach and Waterfront Access Grant

Map Aerial view of the Block Q4

Previously reported – July 2023
The town was invited to submit a final application for the Block Q restroom facility as part of the 2023-24 Public Beach and Waterfront Access Grant Program. Final applications are due Monday, August 28. Staff suggests that the board hold the required public hearing at the beginning of the August l 5th  meeting for the process.

The Board scheduled a Public Hearing at the beginning of the next Regular Meeting.

Update –
The Public Hearing was held to hear comments on the final application for the Block Q restroom facility as part of the Public Beach and Waterfront Access Grant. The final application is due by August 28th. Christy briefly reviewed  the grant application process. 

Regular Meeting

1.   Police Report – Chief Jeremy Dixon

Agenda Packet – pages 12 – 24

Police Report » click here

A police patch on a white background


July was a busy month, typical summertime fun at the beach


Jeremy briefly reviewed some of the seven hundred and fifty-seven (757) calls for service

The biggest issue/concern was a significant increase of criminal offenses

The police department currently has only nine (9) officers of the ten (10) they are budgeted to have. 

      • They are down officer Preston Conley who is out on long-term medical disability
      • John our new officer hire has been sworn in
      • So, we still only have eight (8) officers out there

What he did not say –

Remind everyone that its Hurricane Season – be prepared, have a plan!

If you know something, hear something, or see something –
call 911 and let the police deal with it.

Crime Prevention 101 – Don’t make it easy for them
Don’t leave vehicles unlocked
Don’t leave valuables in your vehicles

A reminder of the Town’s beach strand ordinances:
Chapter 90 / Animals / §90.20 / Responsibilities of owners
pets are not allowed on the beach strand except between 5p.m. and 9a.m. daily
dog’s must be on a leash at all times
owner’s need to clean up after their animals
Chapter 94 / Beach regulations / §94.05 / Digging of holes on beach strand
digging holes greater than 12 inches deep without responsible person there
holes shall be filled in prior to leaving
Chapter 94 / Beach regulations / §94.06 / Placing obstructions on the beach strand
all unattended beach equipment must be removed daily by 6:00pm

Pets on the beach strand
Pets – Chapter 90 / Animals / §90.20
Pets must be on a leash at all times on the island.
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

Unattended Gear
Ordinance §94.06 was passed on September 14, 2010. All unattended beach equipment must be removed from the beach by its owner or permitted user daily. All unattended personal equipment remaining on the beach between the hours of 6PM and 7AM will be classified as abandoned property and will be disposed of by the Town.

A golf cart illustration on a white background

Golf carts are treated the same as any other automotive vehicle.

In the State of North Carolina, if a golf cart is to be operated on the streets, highways, or public vehicular areas, it is considered a motor vehicle and subject to all laws, rules and regulations that govern motor vehicles. In short, the golf cart must have all of the following: The driver MUST have a current, valid Driver’s License

        • Child Restraint Laws must be followed
        • Headlights
        • Tail lights
        • Turn signals
        • Rear view mirrors
        • State Inspection Sticker
        • License Plate Issued by NCDMV
        • Liability Insurance

All of the streets in the Town (including the side streets) are considered streets or public vehicular areas according to the State Law. This means that to operate a golf cart anywhere on the island, you must meet the standards above.

2.   Inspections Department Report – Inspections Director Evans

Agenda Packet – pages 25 – 26

Inspections Report » click here

Update –
Timbo briefly reviewed department activity last month, the department still remains very busy.

3. Discussion and Possible Action on Identifying Additional Sources of Funding for Sewer Lift Station – Mayor Holden

Agenda Packet – background information was not provided

Mayor Alan Holden explained that the Board is aware and understands that the public is concerned about our debt/financial obligations. Alan compared the town taking out a five million dollar loan to getting a new credit card with a high maximum limit. You don’t plan to spend the maximum amount, but you could if you needed to.  They are seeking and considering all funding options to make sure that we have a source to cover our needs should we have to. They are hoping that both state and federal funds may be available to us shortly. He asked for our indulgence.

Animated Image of a Old Man with My Two Cents Text

Yogi Berra
: “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

Commissioner Sandy Miller back in 2009 twice said that just because it’s in the budget doesn’t mean we have to spend it. Both times they spent all the money. If we borrow the money they will find a way to spend it. Just sayin’

4.   Discussion and Possible Action on the Final Application for the Block Q Restroom Facility as Part of 2023 – 2024 Public Beach and Waterfront Access Grant (Block Q) – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson

Agenda Packet – pages 27 – 56

The town was invited to submit a final application for the Block Q restroom facility as part of the 2023-24 Public Beach and Waterfront Access Grant Program. Final applications are due Monday, August 28. The grant application and the final application guidance are included in the packet.

Suggested Motion: Have the staff submit application packet prior to the application deadline listed above.

Attachment 1: Grant Application
Attachment 2: Final Application Guidance

Public beach and water access program flyer


Grant fund requested:            $420,000 / 75%
Local matching funds:            $140,000 / 25%
Total project cost:                    $560,000 / 100%

The Town has communicated with DCM to clarify that we would only want deed restrictions from any grant funding to apply to the parcels that are located in this particular project area for which we are applying for funding assistance.

Grant Final Application » click here

Update –
Christy was seeking support for the final application of a grant for public restrooms at Block QShe clarified that the Division of Coastal Management confirmed the deed restrictions would be applied only to the proposed grant project area, the three parcels where the bathrooms are located. The motion was made to have the staff submit an application packet prior to the application deadline.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

5. Discussion and Possible Action on Resolution 23-11, Resolution Authorizing the Negotiation of an Installment Financing Contract and Providing for Certain other Related Matters Thereto – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson

Agenda Packet – pages 57 – 63
The attached resolution (Attachment 1), prepared by our bond attorney firm, Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein, LLP, is a necessary component for the application to the Local Government Commission (LGC) to obtain financing for the improvement/remodeling of Sewer Lift Station 2. The resolution authorizes the negotiation of an installment financing contract with a financial institution to be determined and the provision of a security interest in the real property on which Sewer Lift Station 2 is located . Also attached is the required public hearing notice (Attachment 2- Exhibit A) that sets the date of the public hearing for September 12, 2023 at 5:30 p.m. and a Notice to the Joint Legislative Committee (Attachment 3) that is a required as part of the installment financing process.

Attachment 1 : Resolution # 23-11 / Resolution of the Town of Holden Beach, North Carolina, Authorizing Negotiation of an Installment Financing Contract and Providing for Certain Other Related Matters

Attachment 2 : Exhibit A / Public Hearing Notice

Attachment 3 : Notice to Joint Legislative Committee

Suggested Motion: Approval of Resolution # 23-1 I, as well as Exhibit A, to set the public hearing and direct the town manager to notify the Joint Legislative Committee of the Town’s intentions through execution of Attachment 3.

Section I.   The Mayor and  the Town Manager,  and  their respective  designees, individually and collectively, with advice from the Town Attorney and the Town’s financial advisor and Special Counsel, are hereby authorized and directed to negotiate on behalf of the Town (1) the financing of the Project for a principal amount not to exceed $5,000,000 under the Contract, to be entered into in accordance with the provisions of Section 160A-20 of the General Statutes of North Carolina, as amended, and (2) the provision of a security interest under a deed of trust in the Town’s fee simple interest in the real property on which the Project is located, together with all improvements thereon, as may be required by the financial institution providing the funds to the Town under the Contract to secure the Town’s obligations thereunder.

Section 2. The Board finds and determines that:

      • The proposed Contract is necessary or expedient;
      • The Contract, under the circumstances, is preferable to a bond issue for the same purpose;
      • The sums to fall due under the Contract are adequate and not excessive for its proposed purpose;
      • The Town’s debt management procedures and policies are good;
      • The increase in taxes, if any, necessary to meet the sums to fall due under the Contract will not be excessive; and
      • The Town is not in default in any of its debt service

Resolution 23-11 » click here

Previously reported – July 2023
Sewer  Lift Station 2/EPA Grant Update  –  Assistant Town Manager Ferguson
The town engaged with the new project coordinator with EPA and to date met all requirements until we hear back about the NEPA review and whether it is needed for this project. Since we are working on someone else’s timeline , the borrowing calendar will not mesh with the construction and federal calendars to complete the project this year. If the town wants to continue to move toward the EPA grant funding, we will need to postpone the project for one year. As an alternative, the town could choose to fund the entire project to achieve a deliverable of construction this winter.

Grant Update » click here

This is one of the Congressional earmarks for $2,669,867 for the Greensboro Street Lift Station #2 Hazard Mitigation Project. Despite the federal budget appropriation and that that  the grant was Congressional directed we still have to apply for the money. The Board was given two (2) options, either to move forward with grant funding and postpone the project or the town would need to fund the entire project. Town staff all seemed to lean towards walking away from the grant and proceeding with the project now. Andrew our financial advisor remotely joined the meeting and gave them additional input. Unfortunately, based on the timelines they were given the decision has to be made tonight. The federal share is $2,669,867  and our  match would be at least $667,467 for a total of $3,337,334. They decided to forego the grant money and proceed with the project paying for it through town funding only. David said that the Water/Sewer Fund has funds of $3,869,859. The recommendation is to do a fifty-fifty split between cash and borrowing. It was a difficult decision for them, either way people were going to be unhappy with whatever they decided to do. The Board struggled with the decision weighing waiting for the grant funds vs. moving forward now to prevent not having an operating sewer system should it be destroyed in a storm event. Tentatively construction would start as soon as this October. A lot of moving parts and Town Manager Hewitt explained that this was a very compressed schedule, and we may not be able to make it work as planned. The motion was made to proceed with self-funding for this critical asset of the island.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Animated Image of a Old Man with My Two Cents TextJust to be clear, we just walked away from a $2,669,867 grant for lift station #2

Update –
The public has questioned the approval of a $5,000,000 installment financing contract for Sewer Lift Station #2. The explanation given is that this is a limit, the maximum amount, worst case scenario, that we may need to complete the project. Christy emphasized that they don’t intend for it to cost that much but we won’t know until the bids come in. Applying to get that amount of money gives us the flexibility to move forward with the project. The Town is still working with the EPA to obtain the $2.7M grant funding for the project  and are hoping that it may be available to us. THB has scheduled a meeting with the Local Government Commission (LGC) on October 3rd to get approval for the five million dollar financing just in case the grant does not come through. The Board decided to move forward with obtaining financing the of the project for a principal amount not to exceed $5,000,000. The Board scheduled a Public Hearing at the beginning of the next Regular Meeting in September.

A decision was made – Approved (2-1)
Mayor Pro Tem Rick Smith opposed the motion

Jackie Chan Still from a Movie with Wait What TextThe original option selected last month was to borrow $2,000,000 and use $1,337,334 from Water/Sewer reserve fund that currently has $3,869,859 in it. After some discussion I thought that they had agreed to do a fifty-fifty split between cash and borrowing. Regardless of the actual split the total cost was $3,337,334. What just happened: they went from a match of just $667,467, to borrowing approximately two (2) million dollars, to now borrowing five (5) million dollars in just one month. This is a travesty!

6.   Discussion and Possible Action on Town of Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Section 94.06: Placing Obstructions on the Beach – Commissioner Murdock

Agenda Packet – pages 64 – 68

I have recently received inquiries from numerous  rental companies about the possibility  of modifying  this ordinance as written. The push for an ordinance adjustment is based on these facts:

      • Morning
      • Time to distribute rental
      • Evening
      • Time to collect rental

There are two interested parties who object to an earlier end time to this ordinance. Public Works Director Clemmons has stated that a modification to this ordinance would negatively impact the contracted trash pull, and the Holden Beach Turtle Patrol has expressed their objection as well. The objections are based on these facts:

    • Contracted trash pull begins at 6am each morning – 2-3 hours average;
      * Obstructions on the beach would hinder their ability to access trash
    • Turtle Patrol rides beach at 5:45 each morning – 2 ½ hours average time;
      * Obstructions on the beach would hinder their ability to locate turtle
      Obstructions on the beach would interfere with turtle nesting’s – often have turtles leaving the beach in the early morning

With those interferences in mind, leaving the ending time of the ordinance at 7am is recommended. While the safety (heat factor) and convenience (time factor) of local employees is important, it cannot outweigh the public health factor (trash) and wildlife elements.

However, to accommodate the heat and time factor for the employees of these companies, it may be reasonable to consider a later start time to the ordinance as written. If all canopies were removed prior to sunset, there should be no foreseeable negative impact upon public health or wildlife. The topic is up for your discussion and consideration.

   (A) All beach equipment must be removed from the beach by its owner or permitted user on a daily basis. All personal items and beach equipment unattended and remaining on the beach between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. will be classified as abandoned property and shall be removed and disposed of by the town.
All beach equipment shall be set at least ten feet from any sea turtle nest or dune vegetation.

 Update –

Item was removed from the agenda

Animated Image of a Old Man with My Two Cents Text

Ordinance §94.06 was passed on September 14, 2010. All unattended beach equipment must be removed from the beach by its owner or permitted user daily. All unattended personal equipment remaining on the beach between the hours of 6PM and 7AM will be classified as abandoned property and will be disposed of by the Town.

The purpose if the ordinance is to make sure nothing is left on the beach overnight. The first year after the ordinance was adopted they pulled truckloads of stuff off the beach strand each week. Since then – Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Bubkis. Frankly it doesn’t make any sense to penalize vendors who have complied with the ordinance requirements. I recommend that we grant the vendors request. Realistically any changes to the hours that cabanas/equipment can be placed on the beach strand are meaningless since we don’t enforce the ordinance as written.

Animated Image of a Old Man with My Two Cents Text
Inquiring minds want to know –

is responsible to check for compliance?

When was the last time anyone was on the beach strand to check for compliance?

How much equipment was removed from the beach strand this year?

Why don’t we enforce any of the beach strand ordinances?

7.   Public Comments on General Items

Bev Compton a representative of the Holden Beach Property Owners Association (HBPOA) informed the community that Candidates Night is scheduled for October 20th.  Candidates Night has historically been sponsored by the HBPOA.  She explained that because the HBPOA has several Board Members running for the Board of Commissioners positions that the League of Women Voters (LWV) will do Candidates Night this year to avoid the perception of any bias or favoritism. The HBPOA sponsors a Candidates Night event to help the electorate make an informed choice.

8.  Town Manager’s Report

Canal Dredging
The process for canal dredging in Harbor Acres has started and the dredging will occur this winter.   

LWF Inlet
LWFIX & Bend-Winder navigation maintenance projects are scheduled to start this winter. USACE will contract to remove 140k cyds of sand with placement of beach compatible sand on the east end of our beach strand. THB local share of the $535,000 project is approximately $100,000, the funds have already been transferred. 

Ocean Boulevard Resurfacing/Bike Lane Project

DOT Bike Lane Report Presentation » click here

The plan includes bike lanes of 5’ on each side of Ocean Boulevard. It will be an asymmetrical widening, that is 7’ on the south side and only 3’ on the north side where the sidewalk is.  The most likely scenario is that construction won’t start till the end of 2023.

Update –
Survey work is scheduled to start in September with construction beginning in November. Mayor Holden will participate in the Grand Strand Area Transportation Study (GSATS) meeting  this week and should be able to get more details about the project for us.

In Case You Missed It –

Four stranded divers adrift at sea rescued by Coast Guard
A terrifying tale of being stranded at sea came to a happy ending Monday morning when a group of divers safely returned to land at Coast Guard Station Oak Island. Four men who went spear-fishing on the other side of Frying Pan Tower, more than 20 miles offshore, were rescued Monday after spending nearly 24 hours adrift in the Atlantic Ocean. The men, including a father and his 16-year-old son, found themselves alone after resurfacing from a 45-minute spearfishing dive on Sunday morning. They had drifted more than 300 yards away from their boat, Big Bill’s, and were unable to signal the captain amidst windy and choppy conditions. “They resurfaced right on schedule,” said Senior Chief Logan Atkinson, the officer in charge at Coast Guard Station Oak Island. “They started waving to try and signal the boat, but he never actually saw them.”

Search goes on for hours
The captain pulled anchor and immediately began searching the area for his friends. After several hours with no luck, he called the Coast Guard, triggering a massive search effort featuring multiple water vessels and helicopters. A Coast Guard C-130 out of Elizabeth City finally spotted the divers at approximately 12:45 a.m. Monday morning after one of the men used a SOS strobe light to signal the craft. They were found nearly 50 miles offshore after having drifted another 20 miles east. “We searched for hours into the night,” said Atkinson. “The C-130 was able to spot them using infrared technology. They dropped a flare and life raft to them out of the aircraft.” A Navy destroyer, the USS Porter, happened to be in the vicinity and was able to successfully pick Ben Wiggins, 64, Luke Lodge, 26, Daniel Williams, 46, and Evan Williams, 16, out of the water. The Coast Guard arrived a short time later in a 47-foot lifeboat to transfer and transport the dehydrated, exhausted and slightly hypothermic divers back to Oak Island for an improbable reunion with family members who were anxiously waiting for their safe return. “Any time the Coast Guard launches for a search and rescue case, it is always our hope and goal to be able to reunite those we are searching for with their friends and families,” said Capt. Timothy List, commander of Coast Guard Sector North Carolina. “In this case that is exactly what took place, which is always a great feeling for our rescue crews.”

Lessons from the rescue
Atkinson credited Wiggins and his 24 years of Navy diving experience with helping keep the other men calm and together under difficult circumstances. “Accidents happen out there,” said Atkinson. “It doesn’t mean that somebody did something wrong. It’s an unforgiving environment. It’s a dangerous place, obviously, and this was a pretty wild case for sure. They don’t all turn out like that. A lot of time with divers in those situations, there are so much worse outcomes. We were fortunate. It certainly is a dramatic story: four people, 50 miles offshore, by themselves, no boat in sight, just floating out there. It had to be terrifying.” There are two lessons from the rescue, Atkinson said, that everybody going offshore should learn in order to keep themselves safe. If something does go wrong, whether it’s a boat taking on water or somebody missing, Atkinson said the Coast Guard should be notified immediately as every minute is critical. “The longer you delay the notification to the Coast Guard, the harder it is to find somebody,” Atkinson said. “As time goes on, you drift further away from that initial scene. Early notification is critical. If there is something wrong out there, call us. If you end up not having a problem, that’s OK. We can turn around.” Divers and boaters also should possess a personal locator beacon that sends an emergency beacon to a satellite the Coast Guard can use to locate the signal to within 20 feet.
Read more » click here

Editor’s Note:
The four men that were rescued offshore are Holden Beach residents

National Flood Insurance Program: Reauthorization
Congress must periodically renew the NFIP’s statutory authority to operate. On December 23, 2022, the President signed legislation passed by Congress that extends the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) authorization to September 30, 2023.

 Upcoming Events –

Music notes illustration on the websiteConcerts on the Coast Series
The Town’s summer concert series calendar has been released! Live performances featuring local musical groups are held at the pavilion on Sunday evenings from late May to early September. The concerts are free of charge.
For more information
» click here

General Comments –

Commissioner Brian Murdockwas not in attendance

A town hall building with white roof

BOC’s Meeting

The Board of Commissioners’ next Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, September 19th

In the works

 It’s not like they don’t have anything to work on …

The following twenty-five (25) items are what’s In the Works/Loose Ends queue:

        • 796 OBW Project
        • ADA Mediation Agreement
        • Audit Committee Chair
        • Beach Mat Plan
        • Bike Lanes
        • Block Q Project
        • Carolina Avenue
        • Crosswalks OBW
        • Dog Park
        • Fire Station Project
        • Harbor Acres
        • Hatteras Ramp/Coastal Waterfront Access Grant
        • ICW/No Wake Zone Enforcement
        • Inlet Hazard Areas
        • Parking – 800 Block
        • Pier Properties Project
        • Rights-of-Way
        • Sailfish Park Site Project
        • Sewer System/Lift station #2
        • Stormwater Management Project
        • USACE/Coastal Storm Risk Management Study
        • Vacant Commissioner Position
        • Water System Assessment/Water Tower
        • Waste Ordinance Enforcement Policy
        • Wetland Delineation/Bulkheading

The definition of loose ends is a fragment of unfinished business or a detail that is not yet settled or explained, which is the current status of these items. All of these items were started and then put on hold, and they were never put back in the queue. This Board needs to continue working on them and move these items to closure. 

In the works illustration on the website

Homer Simpson illustration on the website

Well, this is embarrassing …

Critical error on our website when we updated to WordPress PHP version 8.0

GoDaddy has not been able to completely restore website yet

Please accept my humble apology for any inconvenience this may cause.


Hurricane Season
For more information » click here.

Be prepared – have a plan!


Emergency Preparedness

No matter what a storm outlook is for a given year,
vigilance and preparedness is urged.

2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook

NOAA boosts Atlantic hurricane forecast, leans toward busy season
The midseason outlook update is a dramatic shift toward what experts warn may be an above-average season.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released an updated hurricane season outlook Thursday morning that now speaks of a high likelihood of an above-average hurricane season. The midseason update reflects a dramatic shift in NOAA’s thinking as the agency joins a number of others in expecting a busy season. Last week, Colorado State University shared its updated outlook, projecting a total of 18 named storms, including the five that have already formed in the open Atlantic. It says the United States has a nearly fifty-fifty shot at being hit by a major hurricane, rated Category 3 or higher. AccuWeather also nudged its forecast upward. Hurricane season, which officially runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 and on average peaks around Sept. 15, traditionally does not perk up until mid- to late August. The season to date has featured four named storms. And an unnamed subtropical storm spun up hundreds of miles off the East Coast in mid-January. Forecasts are highlighting the potential for a season similar to last year’s.

Here are NOAA’s latest projections:

    • 14 to 21 named storms the 12-17 named storms predicted in late May. This includes the four tropical and subtropical storms that have formed, as well as Hurricane Don in July.
    • 6 to 11 hurricanes, as opposed to the May prediction of 5 to 9
    • 2 to 5 major hurricanes, boosted from 1 to 4.

The Hurricane National Center also now estimates a 60 percent chance of an above-average season — double the predicted odds in May. It also says there is a 25 percent chance of a near-normal season. It puts the odds of a below-average season at only 15 percent. At present, only the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting, which oversees the operation of the “Euro” model, paints a picture of a near-average season. Its analysis suggests that 8.5 more named storms are likely. Regardless, there is a growing cause for concern, as noted by the forecasters behind NOAA’s outlook. “During active years, there’s a doubling in the chance of a hurricane hitting the East Coast of the U.S. compared to an average or below-average season,” said Matthew Rosencrans, a meteorologist and the director of NOAA’s Climate Test Bed, at a news conference Thursday.

What are the key drivers of this season’s hurricane forecast?
Meteorologists tasked with predicting how the season will play out have been juggling two deeply conflicting signals: record-high Atlantic sea-surface temperatures and a strong El Niño. High sea-surface temperatures are crucial in helping spawn and intensify hurricanes. This year, the waters are red-hot and reaching records. “One of the local conditions in the Atlantic that we monitor is the sea-surface temperature,” Rosencrans said. “The June and July sea-surface temperatures in the Main Development Region were the warmest since 1950, about [2.2] degrees above normal.” He said the formation in June of Bret and Cindy in the “Main Development Region” — the tropical zone between the eastern edge of the Caribbean Sea and western Africa — probably was highly influenced by the hot seas. “Tropical development in the deep tropics in June or July is usually a harbinger of a more active season,” he said. The water temperatures will raise the odds of rapid intensification of the storms that do form, posing the danger of big lurches in strength in any potentially landfalling hurricane. Working against a busy hurricane season is the ongoing El Niño weather pattern. El Niño, which begins as a warming of water temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific, results in sinking air and hostile upper-level winds over the Atlantic. The nascent El Niño isn’t going away any time soon. “Odds are in excess of 95 percent that the ongoing El Niño will continue into autumn,” Rosencrans said. However, his team expects a delayed start to the arrival of En Niño-esque conditions — the same ones usually inhibitive of an above-average hurricane season. With El Niño’s true fingerprint taking a while to show up, the exceptionally warm ocean waters may help kick things into unimpeded overdrive. “Changes of El Niño appear to be emerging later than expected,” Rosencrans said. “If those changes move in quickly, then activity could be [near the] lower end of our predicted ranges.” In predicting seasonal hurricane activity, forecasters also consider the Saharan air layer, a stretch of hot, dry and sandy air that wafts over the Atlantic and suppresses storm growth. “Saharan air outbreaks do peak in June and July, and then fade off in area and intensity as the season goes on,” Rosencrans said, suggesting that this phenomenon will increasingly become less of an impediment to storms. An active West African monsoon, which provides a source of moisture and disturbances that can become the seeds for hurricanes, also could elevate storm activity. “During 2023, the West African monsoon rains have been robust, but the winds have been near normal, giving a bit of a mixed signal,” Rosencrans said.

The bottom line
NOAA is exhibiting confidence that the high sea-surface temperatures will supersede the effects of El Niño, favoring a busy season. Irrespective of how many storms do spin up, it only takes one hitting a populated zone to leave a mark. “Landfalls are only predictable up to about one week from a storm reaching a coastline,” Rosencrans said. “People should be busy preparing for the storms that this forecast implies.”
Read more » click here 

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