WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Hurricane Season Ends Today...Almost!

Posted November 30, 2005

Today marks the official end of hurricane season with 26 named storms under our belt. Here is a summary on the season from NOAA...


The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season is the busiest on record and extends the
active hurricane cycle that began in 1995 - a trend likely to continue for
years to come. The season included 26 named storms, including 13 hurricanes
in which seven were major (Category 3 or higher).

"This hurricane season shattered records that have stood for decades --
most named storms, most hurricanes, and most category five storms.
Arguably, it was the most devastating hurricane season the country has
experienced in modern times," said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C.
Lautenbacher, Jr., Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and
atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "I'd like to foretell that next year
will be calmer, but I can't. Historical trends say the atmosphere patterns
and water temperatures are likely to force another active season upon us."

The Atlantic Basin is in the active phase of a multi-decadal cycle in which
optimal conditions in the ocean and atmosphere, including
warmer-than-average sea-surface temperatures and low wind shear, enhance
hurricane activity. This increase in the number and intensity of tropical
storms and hurricanes can span multiple decades (approximately 20 to 30
years). NOAA will make its official 2006 season forecast in May, prior to
the June 1st start to the season.

"Evidence of this active cycle was demonstrated this year as the Atlantic
Basin produced the equivalent of more than two entire hurricane seasons
over the course of one. Because we are in an active hurricane era, it's
important to recognize that with a greater number of hurricanes comes
increasing odds of one striking land," said retired Air Force Brig. Gen.
David L. Johnson, director of NOAA's National Weather Service.

Records set this season include the totals for:
* Named storms: 26; previous record: 21 in 1933
* Hurricanes: 13; previous record: 12 in 1969
* Major hurricanes hitting the U.S.: Four (Dennis, Katrina, Rita and
Wilma); previous record: Three, most recently in 2004
* Hurricanes of Category 5 intensity (greater than 155 mph): Three
(Katrina, Rita and Wilma); previous record: Two in 1960 and 1961

NOAA scientists predicted this would be an extremely active hurricane
season, forecasting near-record activity in early August. The 26 named
storms topped the forecast range of 18 to 21, the 13 hurricanes inched
above the forecast of nine to 11 and the seven major hurricanes fell within
NOAA's forecast range of five to seven. Five hurricanes (Dennis, Katrina,
Ophelia, Rita and Wilma) and three tropical storms (Arlene, Cindy and
Tammy) directly impacted the U.S.

Letters of the Greek alphabet were used to name storms for the first time
since storms began acquiring names in 1953, as Hurricane Wilma exhausted
the original list of 21 names. Tropical Storm Alpha and Hurricane Beta hit
the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, respectively. Tropical Storm Gamma
brought deadly flooding to parts of Central America. Tropical Storm Delta
largely stayed over open water then moved across the Canary Islands off the
northwest coast of Africa.

With six months until the official start of the 2006 Atlantic
hurricane season, NOAA urges hurricane-prone residents to take proactive
measures during this time. "The battle against the hurricane season is won
during the off season. Winter and spring is the time to conduct hurricane
preparations, such as stocking supplies, assembling a safety kit that
includes a NOAA Weather Radio and preparing an evacuation plan," said Max
Mayfield, director of NOAA's National Hurricane Center.
"Amid this period of more numerous and more intense hurricanes,
NOAA is focused on our mission of serving society's needs for weather
information and support the nation's commerce," said Lautenbacher. "NOAA
is there to provide accurate storm forecasts and also stays engaged after
the storm to ensure safe commercial fishing and continued navigation of our
nation's impacted waterways."

NOAA's National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data,
forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. NOAA's
National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood
warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and
property and enhance the national economy.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing
economic security and national safety through the prediction and research
of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental
stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the
emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is
working with our federal partners and nearly 60 countries to develop a
global Earth observation network that is as integrated as the planet it
observes, predicts and protects.

Over the past few years we have seen tropical systems develop outside the season. In 2003 tropical storm Odette developed on December 4th and diminished on the 7th. On December 7th of the same year tropical storm Peter formed and lasted until December 11th.

In 2004 we saw tropical storm Otto form on November 29th and last into December 3rd. Now with the 2005 season being as bizarre as it was, I would not be surprised to see storms develop deeper into December.

After doing some research we found that each month of the year outside hurricane season has seen tropical activity. Even in the months of January and February! Granted they were nowhere near the United States and well into the Atlantic, they formed nonetheless. As always...Stay tuned!!!!

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