2011 another active hurricane season

Tuesday 24th Jan 2012 by theWeather Club

The 2011 Atlantic hurricane season officially ended on 30th November although the last recorded storm fizzled out on 12th November. The official season runs from 1st June until the end of November although occasionally a tropical storm can develop outside of this 6 month window. 2011 will go down as an 'active' year with a total of 19 tropical storms of which seven became hurricanes, including three major hurricanes. This level of activity matched the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predictions and continues the trend of active hurricane seasons that began in 1995.

The 19 tropical storms represent the 3rd highest total (tied with 1887, 1995, and 2010) since records began in 1851 and is well above the average of 11. However, the number of hurricanes and major hurricanes is only slightly above the average of six and two, respectively.

Several storms made landfall with Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey and Jose causing heavy rainfall and minor damage to parts of Mexico, Caribbean Islands, the Bahamas and Bermuda. However Irene was the only hurricane to hit the US in 2011, and the first one to do so since Ike struck southeast Texas in 2008. Hurricane Irene made up for being the lone visitor by taking a track up the east coast and becoming the most significant tropical cyclone to strike the Northeast since Hurricane Bob in 1991. Hurricane Lee also caused disruption despite it never making landfall – the outer edge of this cyclone provided record rainfall amounts again in the Northeast.

The lull continues in major hurricanes (above Category 3 with top winds greater than 111mph) that make landfall in the US, with 2011 making it a record six straight years without one hitting the US. The last one to do so was Wilma in 2005. While many Americans are delighted with this record, a few meteorologists will be secretly hoping for more.