Storms grow 3 months after hurricane season ends

Jan 26, 2012

The following article was posted to the website on January 26, 2012:

Storms grow 3 months after hurricane season ends

Nearly three months after the 2011 hurricane season ended, storms are still growing stronger and one has even grown into a major hurricane.

But before you start boarding up the house and gathering hurricane supplies, these storms will not threaten the Florida coast or even the. In fact, they have long since dissipated.

NOAA released an update on last year’s active hurricane season. According to NOAA’s website, the 19 tropical storms represent the third-highest total (tied with 1887, 1995 and 2010) since records began in 1851 and is well above the average of 11. The number of major hurricanes is also well above the average of two. However, the number of hurricanes is close to the average of six.

This year’s totals include a post-storm upgrade of Tropical Storm Nate to hurricane status, a post-storm upgrade of Hurricane Rina to major hurricane status, and the addition of a short-lived, unnamed tropical storm that formed in early September between Bermuda and Nova Scotia. This unnamed storm, along with several other weak, short-lived named storms, could have gone undetected without modern satellite technology.

This isn’t the first time a storm or hurricane has been upgraded. For example, in 2002, NOAA upgraded Hurricane Andrew, which obliterated Homestead in 1992, to a category five hurricane — only the third ever to strike the U.S.

The 2011 season also ended a hurricane ”drought” for the U.S. when Hurricane Irene hit North Carolina and flooded parts of Vermont and New Hampshire. Irene was the first hurricane to strike the U.S. in three years when Hurricane Ike last devastated the Galveston/Houston area in September 2008. It should be noted, however, that according to NOAA, the U.S. has not been hit by a major hurricane in six years, which is a record.

The 2012 hurricane season kicks off June 1, like it does every year, and it already promises to be a busy season. Phil Klotzbach and William Gray, of Colorado State University, say that the above-normal activity, which began in 1995, will continue with a 45-percent chance of 12-15 named storms, seven to nine hurricanes, and three to four major hurricanes forming.

Jacksonville has been extremely lucky with hurricanes, having not been hit since Hurricane Dora in 1964. But with hurricanes, there’s never any certainty. Are you prepared?

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