The 2011 Atlantic hurricane season came to an end on Wednesday, ending another very active year in the tropics.
This season produced nineteen named storms, seven of which became hurricanes. Of those seven hurricanes, three were classified as major hurricanes (category 3 strength or higher). According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the 19 named storms in the Atlantic Basin tied for the third highest number of storms in a given year since records began in 1851. As it turns out, the years of 1887, 1995, and 2010 also had nineteen tropical storms in one six month period.
A normal hurricane season consists of eleven named storms, six hurricanes, and two of those hurricanes being classified as cetegory 3 or higher. While the number of named storms was way above the norm, the number of hurricanes and major hurricanes was just slightly above normal.
Just like last year in 2010, this year was another gentle giant. Despite the fact the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and Atlantic Ocean were quite active, very few of these storms even had an impact on the United States mainland.
Hurricane Irene was the only hurricane to make landfall in the United States this season. That hurricane was a category 2 storm and affected a large area of real estate up and down the Atlantic seaboard. Irene was the first land falling hurricane to hit the United States since Hurricane Ike hit Galveston three years ago in 2008.
The last major hurricane to hit the United States was Hurricane Wilma back in the record breaking season of 2005.
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