November 30 marks the official end to the Atlantic hurricane season (though tropical systems can -- and have -- formed in December). I thought it would be interesting to look back at the season as a whole, because there were some interesting and impressive statistics to take away.
An unusually high number of storms formed in the period from June through November, with 19 named storms forming in the Atlantic Basin. This is tied for third highest number of storms on record in one season, with the other two years having 19 storms being 1887 and 1995. Out of the tropical systems, 12 became hurricanes, which is the second highest on record in one season. Despite the incredibly high number of tropical storms and hurricanes, many of us may have felt like the season was relatively tranquil since only two storms actually made landfall in the United States. Those two systems were Tropical Depression Number 2 and Tropical Storm Bonnie. The rest of the storms were deflected into the Atlantic Ocean or fizzled before they reached the United States.
In a strange twist of fate, the scorching heat that gripped most of the east coast over the summer, was partially responsible for the lack of landfalling tropical systems. The major ridge of high pressure that caused the heat wave helped to deflect and steer many tropical systems away from us, although Bermuda and parts of the Canadian Maritimes weren't as lucky. Islands in the Caribbean and the coastlines of Central America and Mexico also took a few hits.
This season is a reminder that not all active seasons end in numerous United States landfalls...but it's still always a good idea to be prepared for that next big storm. We'll be tracking them again beginning on June 1st, 2011.