Just as candy cane season begins, hurriCANE season comes to an end in the Atlantic. The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1st and ends November 30th. Historically, the peak of the season is around the second week of September. It's also important to remember hurricanes can strike year round but typically we see most of the activity during the late summer and early fall when the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea are at their warmest.
The 2011 season will wrap up as one of the busiest on record with 19 tropical storms. This ties the 1887, 1995, and 2010 seasons as the 3rd highest total since records began in 1851. The season certainly finished well above the average number of tropical storms, 11.
Hurricane Irene was the only hurricane to hit the United States this year and the first U.S. landfall since Hurricane Ike struck the Texas Gulf coast in 2008. Irene was a category 1 storm when it made landfall on North Carolina's Outer Banks in late August. The storm tracked up the east coast making a second landfall along the New Jersey coastline. Irene is an example of something you always hear meteorologists say at the start of Hurricane season, it only takes one!
Irene was the only hurricane to make landfall in the United States this season. It made landfall as a category 1 storm, the weakest of the 5 categories on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Yet, Irene was responsible for 53 deaths and between $10-$15 BILLION dollars in damage.
This year NOAA did a great job with their hurricane forecast. The 2012 Atlantic hurricane forecast will be issued in May, just prior to the June 1st start of the season.
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