Alex, 2004's first hurricane, is expected to pound the South Carolina and North Carolina coasts today with lots of rain and a bit of wind ... but will it affect any cruises along the southeastern U.S. coast?
As of early Monday afternoon, cruise lines that operate in this region -- and we are mostly referring to those that home port in places like New York, Cape Liberty, Philadelphia and Baltimore, and whose ships head south, to destinations such as the Bahamas, Caribbean and Bermuda -- report no significant changes in itineraries or delays, with one exception. Radisson Seven Seas Cruises has altered Seven Seas Navigator's itinerary for this week, eliminating tomorrow's Norfolk call and instead sailing a northern route with a call at Newport, Rhode Island, before returning to New York on Wednesday.
Since our initial report, Alex has been upgraded from a tropical storm to a hurricane but is not anticipated to land directly on the U.S.
Alex's mere presence is a sign that the Atlantic/Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico hurricane season has kicked off. The season begins on June 1 but typically doesn't really gear up until early August (and then peaks September through October). At this point, prediction forecasters like the folks at NOAA are saying we could experience an above normal quantity of storms this year (though they have said that every year since 1995, save for El Nino times). According to NOAA's outlook, there will be 12 - 15 named storms. Of these, 6 - 8 will officially be classified as hurricanes while 2 - 4 of those will be considered major hurricanes.
Tropical storms, by the way, must reach 39 miles per hour to receive a "name"; hurricanes are classified as such when their windspeeds exceed 74 miles per hour.
Planning to cruise during the season, which lasts through November?
Check out our Hurricane Tips.
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2004's First Hurricane Blusters Along the East Coast
August 2, 2004