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VIDEO: 2015 Hurricane Season Highlights

3 Dec 2015, 1:11 pm

VIDEO 2015 Hurricane Season Highlights
Monday, the Atlantic, Eastern and Central Pacific hurricane seasons officially ended, marking more than ten years since a major hurricane hit the U.S. coast, the last being Wilma in 2005.

The word straight from NOAA was, “Below-normal Atlantic hurricane season ends; active eastern and central Pacific seasons shatter records”. As predicted, the Atlantic season produced a lower than normal 11 named storms, while the East Pacific had 18 named storms, 13 of which became hurricanes, with nine of them being major, Category 3 or higher, hurricanes. One of those, Patricia, was the strongest recorded storm ever in the Western Hemisphere with winds of 200 miles per hour! Hurricane Sandra was the strongest recorded hurricane so late in the year with max sustained winds of 145 mph.

In the Central Pacific, we saw 14 named storms, including eight hurricanes, five were major. And for the first time in the record books, three of the major Category 4 storms; Ignacio, Kilo, and Jimena were alive and well at the same time!

Back in the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Ana was the second earliest landfalling storm on record, coming ashore near Myrtle Beach, SC on May 10, weeks before the season’s official June 1 start.

Then Tropical Storm Bill made landfall on Matagorda Island, Texas before drenching Texas and Oklahoma with deadly flooding for three days as it moved inland and at times, it looked more organized over North Texas than it had over the Gulf.

One of the biggest U.S. impacts of the season was an indirect one. Hurricane Joaquin eventually became a Category 4 hurricane, the latest recorded Category 4 to pound the Bahamas. And although for a while Joaquin’s track threatened the U.S., the storm stayed off the coast, but contributed to 1,000 year flooding in South Carolina. A so-called “firehose” of moisture pumped catastrophic amounts of rain into the Palmetto State for days, causing numerous dam breaches, along with creek and river flooding that brought destruction from Central South Carolina, all the way to the coast. Recovery efforts from that storm will last for years.

Breaking records can be interesting and thought provoking, seasonal forecasts are important for setting expectations and get better every year, but the biggest take-away with every season, should always be ‘it only takes ONE!’. No matter what is predicted, regardless of how many storms we get, your whole life can be changed if you’re in the strike zone of a single storm. Being prepared is the key to being safer from disasters, year-round.

For WeatherNation: John Van Pelt

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