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Willie Drye

Willie Drye is the author of Storm of the Century: The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, published by National Geographic Books. He also is a contributing editor for National Geographic News, where his posts about hurricanes have set records for page views. He and his wife live in Plymouth, North Carolina, where he is chairman of the town Planning Board and chairman of the Plymouth Small Town Main Street Committee. He served as an Army medic and earned a degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Will U.S. Luck Hold During Peak of Hurricane Season?

Although dozens of powerful hurricanes have formed in the Atlantic Basin during the past decade, the last time a major hurricane with winds exceeding 110 mph struck US shores was when George W. Bush was president during the stormy summer of 2005. So as we head into the time of year that author Ernest Hemingway…

Big Black Bears Celebrated in Big Way in Washington County, North Carolina

On a recent spring morning, photographer Doward Jones and a friend were looking for photo opportunities in the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge near Plymouth, North Carolina. As they cruised through the refuge in an SUV, they spotted a black bear helping himself to wheat in a farmer’s field. The young male bear was enjoying…

Uncertainties Cloud Forecast For 2016 Hurricane Season

Meteorologists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration think as many as 16 named tropical storms could form in the Atlantic Basin—which includes the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean—during the 2016 hurricane season, which begins June 1. A summer that produced 16 named storms would be well above the dozen storms that…

William Gray, 86, Pioneer Of Hurricane Meteorology

Pioneering meteorologist William Gray, who devised seasonal forecasting for hurricane activity, died earlier today surrounded by his family in Fort Collins, Colorado. He was 86. His death was announced by the Colorado State University News Service, but word of his passing was posted on Facebook before the university’s official announcement. Gray joined the CSU faculty…

How the American Dream Took Its Modern Form in Florida Nearly a Century Ago

  National Geographic news correspondent and book author Willie Drye provides a synopsis of his latest book, For Sale–American Paradise: How Our Nation Was Sold an Impossible Dream in Florida. The book, published by Lyons Press, tells the story of the great Florida Land Boom of the 1920s, when millions of Americans flocked to Florida seeking fun, sun and…

El Niño Calms Atlantic Hurricanes, Roils Pacific

A very powerful El Niño kept the lid on the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season, but simultaneously created a spawning ground for powerful hurricanes in the Pacific Ocean. Only 11 named tropical storms formed in the Atlantic Basin, which includes the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. Four of those storms became hurricanes with…

World War II Weathermen Recognized for Sacrifice During Battle of the Atlantic

In the summer of 1942, the tide of World War II was turning against the fascist Axis powers, but the struggle for control of the North Atlantic shipping lanes between the U.S. and Great Britain was still being fought in the sprawling Battle of the Atlantic. And if German submarines could continue sinking thousands of…

NOAA Expects 2015 To Be Warmest Year On Record

October 2015 was the warmest October since record-keeping began in 1880, and scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday that 2015 likely will become the warmest year on record. Temperatures last month averaged 1.76 degrees Fahrenheit above the averages for the 20th century, said Jon Gottschalck, chief of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center-Operational Prediction…

Strong El Niño Could Mean Winter Tornadoes in South

One of the strongest El Niños on record could increase the chance of winter tornadoes forming in parts of the South, officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday. Unseasonably warm and moist conditions during the winter can set the stage for tornado formation, and those conditions can be expected during the winter…

El Niño Winter: Warm and Dry in the North, Cold and Wet in the South

The winter of 2015-16 could be a dry one in the northern Rocky Mountains, around the Great Lakes, and in Alaska and Hawaii, while Southern California and southern states from Arizona to Florida might be in for an unusually wet winter. Forecasters for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration based that prediction Thursday on a very…

Stormy Summer of 2005 Prompted Hurricane Forecast Improvements

Powerful Hurricane Wilma’s storm surge inundated the lower Florida Keys in October 2005. (Photo by Jeff Pinkus) The powerful hurricanes that prowled the Gulf of Mexico during the summer of 2005 prompted evacuation orders that sent millions of people from Houston to Key West scrambling for safety. The evacuations saved lives, but for people who…

CSU Forecasters Expect Below-Average Hurricane Season

Meteorologists at Colorado State University think cooler ocean waters and the formation of a phenomenon known as El Niño will make the 2015 hurricane season much quieter than usual. The CSU preseason forecast released today predicts seven named tropical storms will form in the Atlantic Basin — which includes the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean…

CSU Forecasters Reaffirm Forecast for Quiet Hurricane Season

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With the peak of the 2014 hurricane season approaching, researchers at Colorado State University reaffirmed their June forecast for a relatively quiet summer. CSU meteorologists Phil Klotzbach and William Gray said today they think nine tropical storms will form in the Atlantic Basin — which includes the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea —…

NOAA Reaffirms Forecast For Active Hurricane Season

With the peak of the 2013 hurricane season approaching in the Atlantic Basin, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has reaffirmed its June forecast for a stormy summer. Four named tropical storms have formed in the Atlantic Basin — which includes the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea — since the 2013 hurricane…

CSU Forecasters Still Think 3 Major Hurricanes Will Form In Atlantic This Summer

Meteorologists at Colorado State University made a slight modification to their forecast for the rest of the 2013 Atlantic Basin hurricane season, but they still think three major hurricanes are likely to form before the season ends. CSU forecasters Phil Klotzbach and William Gray had predicted four major hurricanes in the seasonal forecast they released…