Adios, Joaquin

Published 1:23 pm Saturday, October 3, 2015

According to a June report published by the United States Census Bureau, it has been 10 years since a major hurricane has struck the U.S. mainland.

That marks the longest stretch of time that we’ve gone without a Category 3 or above hurricane making landfall since the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Hurricane Research Division began recording the natural disasters in 1851. Prior to the current pause, the longest stretch has been eight years between 1860 and 1869 — 146 years ago.

That lull between natural disasters nearly ended this weekend, as Hurricane Joaquin strengthened to a Category 4 while it rotated near the Bahamas. Computer models predicted that it would weaken as it reached the East Coast, but not before it made landfall as a Category 3 somewhere between the Outer Banks and New Jersey.

Instead, as the more recent forecasts arrived, Joaquin drifted farther and farther away from the coast. What could have been devastating to Western Tidewater is only expected to bring heavy rain, small wind gusts and minimal river flooding.

Our community has experienced its fair share of weather-related damage in recent years. We know as well as anyone the type of destruction that these types of storms can inflict. Whether it was the record flood waters from Hurricane Floyd or the damage caused by Isabel, we’re grateful to watch Joaquin blow out to sea.