Hurricane Season Closes

The fact that no hurricanes and only two tropical storms (Claudette and Ida) made U.S. landfall this year may be the key takeaway of the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season, but Colorado State University hurricane forecasters  remind us to take a long-term view. In addition to a large increase in U.S. hurricane destruction in 2004, 2005 and 2008, the forecasters note that the Atlantic has seen a very large increase in major hurricanes over the past 15 years. There were an average 3.9 major hurricanes per year during the 1995-2009 period, compared to an average of 1.5 per year in the prior 25-year period (1970-1994). The CSU team says the increase is primarily the result of a multi-decadal cycle in the Atlantic, and is not directly related to global sea surface temperatures or CO2 increases. The final 2009 season tally shows a total of nine named storms occurred, the fewest named storms in a season since 1997. There were three hurricanes, including two major hurricanes. The CSU team notes that following seven major hurricane landfalls in 2004-2005, the U.S. has not witnessed a major hurricane landfall in the past four years. However, the four consecutive years between 2000-2003 also experienced no major U.S. hurricane landfalls. I.I.I. hurricane facts and stats show that eight of the top 10 most costly hurricanes in U.S. history have occurred since 2004.

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