(Photo credit: NASA.)
Yesterday the official last day of the Atlantic Hurricane season, validated meteorologists’ predictions of a below normal season, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.). The organization noted that 2015 saw 11 tropical storms and four hurricanes (Danny, Fred, Joaquin and Kate).
Two of this year’s four hurricanes became major ones at their respective peaks: Danny (Category 3) and Joaquin (Category 4). Fortunately, an I.I.I. statement stresses, “none stuck the United States at full force; had they done so, the damage could have been devastating.”
As for how 2015 stacks up to other years, the I.I.I. reports that The National Hurricane Center has found that, between 1966 and 2009, the typical year featured 11 named storms, and six hurricanes—as defined as having winds of 74 miles per hour, or higher. Two of the six hurricanes became major ones with average winds of 111 miles per hour, or higher—the wind speed threshold determining a Category 3 hurricane.
Easy Season, Tough Decade
The I.I.I. suggests caution in overgeneralizing from this year’s relatively quiet season. It notes that five of the 10 costliest hurricanes in U.S. history, as defined by insured losses, have occurred over the past decade. Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma caused extensive property damage to multiple Gulf Coast states in 2005; Ike touched down in Texas in 2008; and Sandy generated insured losses in more than a dozen states in 2012 after making landfall in New Jersey as a post-tropical cyclone.