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Earl just the latest big storm to visit North Carolina coast

READ MORE: Earl just the latest big storm to visit North Carolina coast

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Earl isn't the first monster hurricane to come close to our coast. The Wilmington area has been hit hard many times through the years, but after a devastating decade in the 1990s, storm activity hasn't been as bad over the last ten years.

We have to look back to 2008 to find our last storm Tropical Storm Hannah. She made landfall near the South Carolina border, but brought gusts of 70 mph to Wrightsville Beach and caused some damage in Brunswick County.

Before that, it was Ernesto of 2006, who's legacy will be its flooding rains. It made landfall just shy of hurricane status near Oak Island and dropped more than ten inches of rain in spots.

The last hurricane to graze the area was back in the busy season of 2005 with Hurricane Ophelia. Although the storm didn't officially make landfall, it hovered about 25 miles offshore and sent hurricane force winds 80 mph and even brought a foot and a half of rain in Oak Island.

Head back to 2004, and Charley was the storm. After devastating the west coast of Florida, he traveled across land and came to the Carolinas. The storm moved through fast, but brought wind gusts up to 85 mph to area beaches.

Hurricane Isabel was a monster storm in 2003. At its peak strength it was a category five off the coast and aimed right for North Carolina. The storm plowed ashore as a strong category 2 near Cape Lookout on the Outer Banks. In our area we saw winds gusting near hurricane force, but were spared the brunt of the storm.

It was these storms that shaped our tropical weather in the 2000s. Of course, we need only look back to the '90s to see what some real big storms can do. Hopefully we don't see any Frans, Berthas or Floyds again soon.

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Being smart

Yes, again we have been blessed - we didn't get the hurricane, but people we need to get off our seats of complacency and remember that there will be a time when we get one. We need to be prepared - it is much better to prepare and not need it then to be unready for such a catastrophe.

The people of New Orleans were not prepared for Katrina as they should be. Yes, the majority of the failure to prepare was the mayors' and the governors' but we as individuals have responsibilty too.

What if this area had a "Katrina"? What would you do, where would you go, and would you be prepared?

Just ask yourself these questions.