Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hurricane season for 2010 officially over

Maybe it seemed like a quiet hurricane season in Manatee County, but 2010 was a busy, record breaking year.

Curtis Morgan of the Miami Herald reports:

By one set of numbers, 2010 measured up as yet another in the recent run of monster hurricane seasons. The 19 named storms ranked the third busiest on record.

By another, it was a pussycat — at least for the United States.

The six-month season ended Tuesday with the mainland U.S. escaping a major hurricane strike for a record-tying fifth straight year. South Florida, so often a prime target for powerful systems, barely got its hair mussed by Tropical Storms Bonnie and Nicole.

“We’ve never gone more than five years without a major hurricane,” said National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen. “I’m hoping we’ll be able to set a record next year. Let’s go for six.”

That would be sweet, but don’t bet on it. The mainland’s no-majors streak incongruously coincides with a surge in storms. Since 1995, a global La NiƱa weather pattern and warm Atlantic Ocean temperatures have sparked a string of unusually active seasons. Seven of the dozen busiest years on record have occurred since 2000, including a record 28 storms in 2005, and forecasters don’t see the tropics cooling off anytime soon.

The 19 named Atlantic storms tied with 1887 and 1995 for the third most on record. The 12 hurricanes tied with 1969 for the second highest on record. Five of those became major hurricanes. The same condition that fired up the Atlantic cooled down the Pacific Ocean, which recorded a record low seven named storms, down from an average of 15.

Manatee County’s emergency management chief hauled out copies of all 19 named storms, including 12 hurricanes, and she said she felt lucky.

“Our people should feel blessed that none of these decided to come over Florida,” Laurie Feagans said Tuesday. “Some of these were large storms that went up the East Coast or elsewhere. I don’t think our people are aware that five of the 12 hurricanes that developed this season were major storms and, with those types of winds, would have done significant damage in our county.”

For more, see Wednesday's Bradenton Herald.

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