An Abrupt End to a Quiet Hurricane Season? Unfortunately, Neither

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Full disclosure: once again, I’m not a meteorologist.  But I spend most of my waking hours with dozens of the industry’s best and the ones who focus on Atlantic tropical storms are by no means standing down for the season.  No doubt that for much of the country, autumn has arrived both exactly on time and with unusual vigor.  But we still have our eye on several systems and the truth is that it’s just felt like an easy season, although unfortunately it hasn’t been for everyone.

The season actually hasn’t been so much quiet as lucky, at least for those of us in the U.S.  Personally I’ve taken a little ribbing on behalf of the entire industry given that ImpactWeather and many of the other leaders in tropical forecasting – NOAA, Dr. Phil Klotzbach, the National Hurricane Center, etc. – predicted a much busier season than usual.  But that’s exactly what we’ve seen.  Nicole (number 14) dissipated last week, we’ll probably see Otto develop before the end of next week and the development of both of Paula and Richard aren’t completely out of the question.  Our original 2010 season outlook (PR-ImpactWeather-2010-First-Atlantic-Hurricane-Season-Outlook) issued in March was for 14 named storms and we only bumped that number up slightly in subsequent outlook updates.

We’re also satisfied with our relatively new activity probabilities graphic which, for the most part, bore out the behavioral patterns of this year’s storms.

The season's general risk areas graphic we generated in April. Image: ImpactWeather, Inc.

In our own neighborhood, I still remember category 1 (Hurricane Severity Index (HSI): 9, with 3 points for size and 6 for intensity) hurricane Jerry, a ‘surprise’ late-season hurricane that made landfall at Galveston the day before the devastating Loma Prieta quake hit the San Francisco region.  I remember that storm well because I’d just moved back to Houston from San Francisco the week before and will still take even a strong, fast-forming hurricane over an always-surprising quake any day.  Especially given how far the science of predicting hurricane activity has come.

Residents along the NE Gulf and East U.S. coasts would do well to heed the warning that, with as many as 150 direct and indirect attributed casualties, the 2010 season is still putting up a fight.   As many in Belize, Cuba, Mexico and Nicaragua know all too well, it hasn’t been a quiet season.  And it’s not quite over yet.

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