Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Active hurricane season spares United States

We can all breathe sigh of relief: today is the last day of the 2010 hurricane season.

The meteorological prognosticators had predicted that this season would be busy. This is why I called the season's first named storm a "shot off the bow." But while the 2010 hurricane season was indeed active - 19 tropical storms, 12 hurricanes and 5 major hurricanes - it only shot blanks at the United States. KTRK's Tim Heller explains:
"This season was a gentle giant," said Jack Hayes, director of NOAA's National Weather Service. Although the number of storms was much higher than normal, only one storm made landfall in the U.S.; Tropical Storm Bonnie passed over south Florida in mid-July.
It just goes to show that hurricane activity does not exactly correlate to domestic damage and destruction. Given the thousands of miles of coastline that front both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, it's simply inevitable a fair number of storms can be expected to make landfall in the United States. But sometimes we just get lucky, as we did this season. The storms all went somewhere else.

Conversely, a quiet hurricane season is no guarantee of calm and safety: the 1992 hurricane season was considered to be of below average intensity, but Hurricane Andrew remains the second-costliest hurricane in US history, behind only Katrina.

And it should also be noted that, even though the United States was spared from hurricane-related catastrophe this season, several other nations were not, including countries like Haiti that really didn't need any more natural disasters.

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