Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Third-busiest hurricane season winds to a close with little impact to the U.S.

It was the third-busiest hurricane season in 160 years.

September and October never have produced more tropical storms.

Five storms became major hurricanes, with winds of 111 mph or more.

In a year that could have produced hundreds of deaths and billions of dollars in damage, it appears the United States will escape one of the busiest hurricanes seasons on record with relatively minor damage and a handful of deaths.

"The big word would be 'lucky,' " said Bay News 9 meteorologist Mike Clay.

Water temperatures are dropping, wind shear increasing and the other factors hurricanes need to spawn and intensify are becoming less and less favorable, portending the likely end of this season, which runs through Nov. 30.

"I think the likelihood of another hurricane is very low, and it's even lower that it would hit the U.S.," said Peter Ray, a meteorology professor at Florida State University who independently studies hurricanes.

This season will go down as the third-busiest season on record with 19 named storms, trailing only 2005 (28 named storms) and 1933 (21 named storms), according to National Hurricane Center records dating to 1851. Twelve of the 19 were hurricanes and five had winds of at least 111 mph.

But unlike other years with so many storms, this season saw only one named storm — Tropical Storm Bonnie — make a direct impact in the United States. No hurricanes touched U.S. soil.

"That's remarkable," said Jeff Masters, the director of meteorology for weatherunderground.com.

Such an active but quiet season for the United States is extraordinarily rare:

• For seasons with 10 or more hurricanes, this is the first year since 1893 that no hurricane made a direct hit on the United States.

• The 12 hurricanes this year tie 1969 for second most hurricanes in a season, trailing only 2005, which had 15.

• This is the fifth consecutive year the United States has not been hit by a major hurricane. The last time that happened was between 1910 and 1914. The United States has never gone six years without a Category 3 or higher hurricane striking the country.

• The eight named storms in September tied with 2002 for the busiest September. The five hurricanes in October fell one short of the record set back in 1870 for that month.

But the active stretch came as no surprise. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted 14 to 20 named storms, eight to 12 hurricanes and three to six major hurricanes.

"It turned out as advertised," said National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen.

All summer, a persistent low-pressure system knocked storms off their westward track as they chugged across the Atlantic, turning them to the east.

Storms that formed in more southerly waters were prevented from striking much of the United States by a high-pressure system that hung over the southeastern United States for most of the summer.

"The patterns seem to get locked in," said Clay.

The seemingly quiet summer poses challenges for next year's hurricane season, Clay said, noting that hurricane apathy was a big issue this year.

"We say the same thing: You should prepare the same, as if it's the year you're going to get it."

Third-busiest hurricane season winds to a close with little impact to the U.S. 11/11/10 [Last modified: Friday, November 12, 2010 9:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion

    Markets

    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  2. Minors also a training ground for umpires with big-league dreams

    The Heater

    Umpire Tom Fornarola, 23, left, and Taylor Payne, 24, facing, talk before the start of the Gulf Coast League game between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers at the Tigertown complex in Lakeland, Fla. on Wednesday, July 5, 2017.
  3. In Florida, nation's only lightning center closes after DARPA cuts funding (w/video)

    Environment

    University of Florida professor Martin Uman usually spends much of this summer at an old Army base about an hour northeast of Gainesville, shooting rockets at thunderclouds, then measuring the bright flashes of lightning that followed.

    Rocket-and-wire triggered lightning at the University of Florida's International Center for Lightning Research and Testing, which recently lost federal funding. A rocket trailing a grounded wire is launched toward an active thunderstorm at the ICLRT. One launch is from a tower, one from ground. When the wire is about as high as the Empire State Building, lightning is induced to strike the top of the wire, much as it strikes tall objects like the ESB. Interestingly, the cloud charge source is about 3 miles high, so a 300 yard-long wire can cause a 3 mile or more long lightning.  After that, there are several normal tortuous strokes ( downward leaders from the cloud charge/upward return strokes) which can be seen as the wind blows the individual strokes to the right. The time between strokes is about 50 thousands of a second. Between some strokes, continuing current can be seen. Continuing current is what generally starts forest fires. [Photo by Dr. Dustin Hill]
  4. Editorial: Reasonable clarity on gambling in Florida

    Editorials

    Gambling expansion strategies — and misfires — are nearly an annual ritual in Florida. There were the eight counties that voted to allow slot machines but were blocked by the Florida Supreme Court. There was the governor's $3 billion deal with the Seminole Tribe in 2015 that was never approved by the …

    Gov. Rick Scott agreed to a much simpler deal with the Seminole Tribe that embraces the status quo instead of expansion. And that’s a good thing.
  5. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]