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To aid in the improvement of local forecasts across the state, the SCO has developed a comprehensive network of weather stations that, in its entirety, would provide at least one station to each of the 100 counties in NC. This monitoring system is known as the North Carolina Environment and Climate Observing Network (NC ECONet).
North Carolina has a long and notorious history of destruction by hurricanes. Ever since the first expeditions to Roanoke Island in 1586, hurricanes are recorded to have caused tremendous damage to the state. Reliable classification of the intensity of tropical cyclones began in 1886. Since that time, there have been 951 tropical cyclones that have been recorded in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Approximately 166 or 17.5% of those tropical cyclones passed within 300 miles of North Carolina.
A tornado is a column of violently rotating air, spawned by a thunderstorm, which is connected from the thunderstorm cloud to the ground. It often appears funnel shaped or as a column of debris.
A thunderstorm is a local storm that produces lightning and thunder. It can consist of a single cumulonimbus cloud, a cluster of clouds, or a line of clouds.
In most summers North Carolina's weather is dominated by the "Bermuda High" pressure system. This gives calm, virtually cloudless conditions where any pollution placed into the atmosphere remains suspended for an extended period of time. Fortunately, compared to many other states, North Carolina does not support activities which emit great quantities of pollution.
Winter weather (i.e. snow, sleet, freezing rain) occurs with the greatest frequency in the northern latitudes (e.g. New England and the Midwest) and higher altitudes (e.g. the Rocky Mountains ). However, such weather regularly affects the southeastern United States as far south as Georgia during each cold season. In fact, the impacts of winter weather in the Southeast have been recorded as early as the first week of October and as late as mid-April.