Earlier this year we went on record predicting the number of named storms, including the total number of hurricanes and major hurricanes (Category 3 and above), we expected to develop during the 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Our prediction here at ImpactWeather called for 14 named storms, including 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes. So how did we do? I would say our forecast verified extremely well this year and even though hurricane season is coming to an end, we’re already looking ahead to next year.
This season there were a total of 19 named storms (from Arlene to Sean), which tied it for the third-most active season on record. The 19 named storms included 11 tropical storms, 7 hurricanes (including 3 major hurricanes) and Tropical Depression Ten. As often the case, the two most active months were August and September. There were a total of 12 named storms that formed during that time period.
Hurricane Irene is the only landfalling U.S. hurricane this season and the first since Hurricane Ike back in 2008. Irene developed just east of the Lesser Antilles on Saturday, August 20th and intensified the next couple of days to a Category 2 hurricane by Tuesday, August 23rd just north of Hispaniola. On Wednesday it quickly strengthened to a Category 3 major hurricane while passing over the Bahamas. Irene then weakened and was a Category 1 hurricane on Saturday, August 27 as it made landfall over the Eastern Outer Banks of North Carolina that morning. The eye didn’t stay over land long as it reemerged over water and made a second Landfall on Sunday, August 28th near Little Egg Inlet, NJ. Irene ended up making another landfall in the Coney Island area of Brooklyn, NY as a tropical storm shortly thereafter.
Irene was the first hurricane to make a U.S. landfall since 2008. Image: ImpactWeather
Hurricane Irene was estimated to have caused 10-15 billion dollars in damage. About 7.4 million lost power and at least 56 people were killed in the storm. Extensive flooding occurred along the East Cost with Irene dumping 5-16 inches of rain over the area. Upstate New York and Vermont suffered from their worst flooding in centuries due to the storm.
As active as this hurricane season was I would say we were pretty fortunate as it certainly could have been a lot worse. Today marks the official last day of the 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season, but we still have one area we are watching about 500 miles north of the eastern Caribbean. Disturbance 65 is moving slowly northwestward. Showers and thunderstorms continue across the islands of the northeast Caribbean and these thunderstorms will persist over the area the next 24-36 hours. By tomorrow, the low center will be tracking northward and passing near Bermuda. There is a very slight chance that the low center could become strong enough to be classified as a subtropical storm before it merges with a frontal system on Friday afternoon. Eitherway, no land areas will be impacted.
Be sure to stay tuned for our first 2012 tropical outlook that will be issued around mid December. We’re always looking ahead because let’s face it, it’ll be here again before we know it.