Hazards Impacting the Neuse River Basin
These threats have been identified to potentially impact the Neuse River Basin.
- Dam & Levee Failure
- A dam or levee failure is the collapse or breach of a dam or levee that causes downstream flooding.
Failures may be caused by natural events, manmade events, or a combination. Due to the lack of
advance warning, failures resulting from natural events, such as earthquakes or landslides, may
be particularly severe. Prolonged rainfall and subsequent flooding is the most common cause of
dam or levee failure.
Drought is a deficiency in precipitation over an extended period. It is a normal, recurrent
feature of climate that occurs in virtually all climate zones. However, drought can affect
people’s health and safety. It has the potential to impact water supply, agricultural yields,
and water-dependent industries. Drought conditions can also increase the likelihood of wind
erosion and increase wildfire risk.
An earthquake is a movement or shaking of the ground. Most earthquakes are caused by the
release of stresses accumulated as a result of the rupture of rocks along opposing fault
planes in the Earth’s outer crust.
- Extreme Heat
- Extreme heat events are one of the leading weather-related causes of death in the United States.
Extreme high temperatures compromise the body’s ability to regulate its temperature, which can
result in a cascade of illnesses and can aggravate chronic conditions. Extreme heat can also
cause damage to infrastructure such as roads and bridges.
- Flooding is defined by the rising and overflowing of water onto normally dry land. Flooding can
result from an overflow of inland waters or an unusual accumulation or runoff of surface waters
from any source.
- Hurricane & Tropical Storm
- A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone, a low pressure system that generally forms in the
tropics. A typical cyclone is accompanied by thunderstorms, and in the Northern Hemisphere, a
counterclockwise circulation of winds near the earth’s surface. Hurricanes can cause
catastrophic damage to coastlines and several hundred miles inland. Winds can exceed
155 miles per hour. Hurricanes and tropical storms can also spawn tornadoes and microbursts,
create storm surges along the coast, and cause extensive damage from heavy rainfall.
- Severe Weather (Thunderstorm Wind, Lightning, and Hail)
- Thunderstorms result from the rapid upward movement of warm, moist air. They can occur inside
warm, moist air masses and at fronts. Severe thunderstorm winds arise from convection and have
speeds of at least 58 mph, or are winds of any speed producing a fatality, injury or damage.
Lightning is an electrical discharge between positive and negative regions of a thunderstorm.
- Each year, lightning is responsible for deaths, injuries, and millions of dollars in property
damage across the country, including damage to buildings, communications systems, power lines,
and electrical systems. Lightning also causes forest and brush fires.
- Hail is associated with thunderstorms that can also bring high winds and tornadoes. It forms
when updrafts carry raindrops into extremely cold areas of the atmosphere where they freeze
into ice. Hailstones are usually less than two inches in diameter and can fall at speeds of 120
- Severe Winter Storm
- Severe winter storm can involve heavy snowfall and/or ice accumulation (generally noted when
accumulation reaches ¼ inch or more), often accompanied by extreme cold, which can result in
blocked roads, dangerous road and sidewalk conditions, downed trees and power lines, and
- A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the
ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour. Damage paths can be in excess of
one mile wide and 50 miles long.
A wildfire is an uncontained fire that spreads through the environment. Wildfires have the
ability to consume large areas, including infrastructure, property, and resources.