I have learned something while watching the non-stop media coverage of Hurricane Florence as it pounds the coasts of North and South Carolina.
It is this: Not all hurricane categories can be judged by the same parameters.
Florence blasted ashore overnight as a Category 1 hurricane. Category 1 supposedly is the least damaging, least threatening of these storms, which can be labeled as high as Category 5.
Here’s the deal: Florence brought a lot of water with it. Weather forecasters are saying it could dump as much as 3 feet of rainfall on the Carolina coast.
This is a bit of a surprise to me. My family and I once endured a Category 1 hurricane when we lived in Beaumont, Texas. Hurricane Bonnie made landfall while blasting ashore from the Gulf of Mexico in 1986. Bonnie was considered — even in the moment — to be a somewhat tepid event. Yes, it brought some heavy wind — about 85 mph sustained winds and occasional gusts of around 100 mph. However, the rainfall wasn’t nearly as heavy as what we’re seeing right now along the Carolina coastline.
Thousands of residents throughout the Golden Triangle lost power. Ours was out for just a few hours. Others endured days without any electricity.
Rainfall? Flooding? I don’t recall anywhere near the deluge that’s been brought by Hurricane Florence.
So, when they say a hurricane is a “mere” Category 1 event, that all depends on so many other factors that accompany such a storm as it blasts the coastline.
I’ll take Hurricane Bonnie over Hurricane Florence any day of the week.