Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

As hurricane season ends, bay area, Florida breathes sigh of relief

We made it. Today ends the 2010 hurricane season, and once again Florida came through unscathed. Given sea surface temperatures and weather patterns, we likely won't hear about hurricanes for six months. But before we turn the page, let's reflect on this unusual season, recapping what we learned and what we might see next.

Forecasters were right: Across the board, all of the top experts predicted the 2010 season would see above-average activity. Most predicted a range of 14-20 named storms and eight-12 hurricanes. We actually had 19 named storms and 12 hurricanes. "I think if you asked most people on the street if we had an active hurricane season, they'd say no," said Bay News 9 meteorologist Mike Clay. "It's because nothing happened here … "

Record-breaking season: While Florida stayed calm, havoc wreaked south of us and in the Atlantic Ocean during the third-busiest season on record. Meteorologists describe the season as "hyperactive," noting the 11 named storms that formed between Aug. 22 and Sept. 29, the most ever in that period. Five Category 4 storms, with winds of 131 mph or higher, formed over 20 days, the most ever in that time frame.

La Niña still going strong: El Niño and La Niña are key players in hurricane season. An El Niño year occurs when warm surface water in the Pacific Ocean moves east toward the West Coast and Central America, causing upper-atmospheric storms that suppress hurricane formation in the Atlantic. La Niña happens when those surface waters slough to the west, increasing chances of Atlantic hurricanes. The current strong La Niña likely will remain through next year, experts agree.

Higher insurance costs: Florida has had no hurricanes since 2005, but home insurance rates are rising. The reasons have little to do with recent hurricane seasons or projections for next year. Florida insurers use complex algorithms to predict future losses, and not just from hurricanes. Insurers are seeing a spike in sinkhole claims, raising rates. Critics say Florida insurers overpay for reinsurance, which protects insurance companies from going broke in disasters.

If history repeats … The good luck can't last forever. The United States has gone five years without a major hurricane of 111 mph winds or higher, though some came close. We've never gone six years without one. Short of saying Florida is due for a big one, meteorologists point out that weather is cyclical. We go through low periods and high periods, hot streaks and cold streaks, La Niñas and El Niños. "It all depends on how the weather pattern sets up," Clay said. And that part is unpredictable.

As hurricane season ends, bay area, Florida breathes sigh of relief 11/29/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 12:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Hillsborough Democrats call Confederate monument vote a continuation of white supremacy

    Blogs

    TAMPA — Two days after Hillsborough County commissioners decided not to touch a Confederate monument in downtown Tampa, Hillsborough County Democrats have decided to weigh in.

    On Friday afternoon, Hillsborough County Democrats decried a vote by the county commission not to remove the Confederate monument in downtown Tampa.
  2. For starters: Ramus to DL, Peterson back, no further moves

    Blogs

    We were expecting a flurry of roster moves this afternoon and we got one. OF Colby Ramus is on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to June 19 with left hip tendinitis.

    Colby Ramus is on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to June 19 with left hip tendinitis.
  3. Editorial: Failure to invest in transit means fewer HART routes

    Editorials

    It was simple economics that forced HART, Hillsborough County's mass transit agency, to cut its bus routes. The agency will focus its resources on the more crowded urban core, limiting service in the suburbs in an effort to get more bang for the buck. These are the hard choices communities must make when they refuse to …

    Hillsborough Area Regional Transit is cutting bus routes from 41 to 34. Those in more rural areas will find it harder to catch a bus.
  4. Editorial: Senate bill sacrifices health care for tax cuts

    Editorials

    No wonder Senate Republicans drafted their health care legislation in secret. Beneath the surface, it looks no better than the House version that even President Donald Trump has called mean. This remains a massive tax cut for the wealthy at the expense of the poor, the middle class and the elderly, and it would cost …

    No wonder Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, above, drafted their health care legislation in secret. Beneath the surface, it looks no better than the House version that even President Donald Trump has called mean.
  5. UberEATS expands to more cities within Tampa Bay

    Business

    TAMPA — UberEATS is expanding its service area in Tampa Bay. Starting today, users in Gibsonton, Odessa, New Port Richey, Riverview and Tarpon Springs can have food dropped off at their location.

    UberEATS is expanding its service area in Tampa Bay. [Courtesy of UberEATS]