Wednesday, November 30, 2011

'Busy' hurricane season ends

Today marks the end of the 2011 hurricane season in the Atlantic basin, although the season really began and ended in the last week of August, when Hurricane Irene bulled up the East Coast.

The National Hurricane Center says there were 19 named storms, tied for the third-highest total since record-keeping began in 1851. The NHC also says that total is well above the average of 11 and continues a trend in recent years of above-average storm activity in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico.

However .........

Unless you are a fish, it didn't seem like a big season.

There were seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes. Those numbers are only one above the seasonal averages. More important, only one hurricane -- Irene -- made landfall in the United States.

And no major hurricane (Category 3, 4 or 5 status) hit the United States this year. That makes it the sixth straight season without landfall by a major 'cane. The last big storm to hit the mainland was Wilma, late in the 2005 season. That year also included Katrina and Rita.

Irene did considerable damage to the eastern edge of North Carolina, and also in the Mid-Atlantic and New England states. It was the first hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Ike in 2008.

"Irene broke the 'hurricane amnesia' that can develop when so much time lapses between landfalling storms," said Jack Hayes, director of the National Weather Service.

Hayes makes a good point in noting that Hurricane Irene served as a reminder that tropical systems can strike anywhere -- in this case, Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut took a rare hit.

Irene highlighted both the good and bad of hurricane forecasting. The National Hurricane Center nailed the storm's path, several days in advance. But the intensity forecast was off, as Irene weakened before making landfall.

For most of the hurricane-prone areas of the Southeast, 2011 was a quiet year, a lot like 2009 and 2010.

The strong ridge of high pressure over Texas prevented tropical systems from affecting that part of the country. That prevented massive oil and gas price increases that result from a hurricane crossing the Gulf of Mexico's petroleum beds, but it also kept the Lone Star State deeply mired in an extremely damaging drought.

A persistent trough of low pressure off the East Coast kept storms out at sea, much as in 2010.

Look for the 2012 forecasts to start appearing in a few months.


Subing said...

Hopefully the spouse as well wet will almost certainly be That evening ...