What are the chances of another hurricane?

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OCEAN CITY — As Hurricane Irene approached the Jersey Shore last year, emergency management coordinators went into overdrive. A mass evacuation was said to be among the best ever, but arriving during the important last week of the summer, all but destroyed the region’s already struggling tourism industry as visitors fled the shoreline.

On the cusp of the one-year anniversary of the storm, is another hurricane likely to hit before Labor Day?

Experts say not likely. At the “A Time to Remember, a Time to Prepare” event, held at the Ocean City Tabernacle on Thursday, Aug. 16, Jim Eberwine, retired from the United States Weather Service, said conditions are not favorable for a storm to develop in the near future. For at least the remaining two weeks of August, the region should be hurricane-free.

While ocean temperatures are very warm this summer, hitting 84 and 85 degrees from Cape May to Sandy Hook, Eberwine said warmer ocean temperatures don’t necessarily increase the chances of a hurricane.

“If a hurricane moves fast, there is no difference,” he said. “If it moves slowly, it could intensify over warmer water.”

“We’re sitting pretty for about two weeks,” Eberwine advised.

Eberwine said all things considered, there is nothing on the horizon indicating that a hurricane could cause a problem before Labor Day.

He said the region escaped devastation last year with Irene when the storm lost intensity and hit a few hours sooner than predicted, missing high tide. The region, he said, dodged a bullet. Inland areas, he noted, suffered severe flooding.

Hurricane season continues through September and October, however, he noted. Storms at the shore are a year-round presence. As hurricane season ends, the more dangerous northeast storms begin to develop. Northeast storms can be far more deadly and devastating to the area as they tend to stall, causing far more destruction as they pound the shore for several days. Hurricanes, he said, move swiftly through the area under normal circumstances and are unlikely to stall.

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