2011 HURRICANE SEASON
The 2011 Hurricane Season in the Atlantic had overall activity close to the averages for total numbers of hurricanes and major hurricanes. Seven hurricanes formed this year, with three of those reaching major hurricane strength – category 3 or stronger. Among this year’s major hurricanes, Irene never exceeded category 3. Two hurricanes, Katia and Ophelia, peaked at category 4. This was the fourth consecutive year that no Atlantic basin hurricane reached category 5.
The Atlantic season began with eight tropical storms. Nineteen total storms occurred, above the 1995 – 2010 average of fifteen, and tied for the third most of record with 1887, 1995, and 2010. For the first time since 2008, hurricane Irene made landfall in the United States. Irene was also the first hurricane to make landfall anywhere along the U.S. East Cost from Florida to Maine since 2005. It was the first significant hurricane threat to the northeastern U.S. in twenty years, and even though making landfall there as a strong tropical storm, its impacts were severe.
The U.S. has now gone six consecutive hurricane seasons without experiencing the landfall of a major hurricane, category 3 or stronger. The last such occurrence was Wilma in October 2005 which severely impacted Florida.
Even though the current hurricane season has ended, some people may think that it is too early to think about next year’s hurricane season, but with the massive damage that has occurred in the South Florida area in the past from hurricanes, it is never too early to begin to prepare. Do not assume that “minimal” damage means you simply won’t be affected. Minimal damage can include (but may not be limited to) destruction of older mobile homes, serious damage to or loss of roofs of frame structures, water damage from window failure or window shattering from flying debris, and power outages from downed trees and limbs.
Florida’s Disaster Fund stands ready to go into action if the need arises. The website www.FloridaDisaster.org has information that you can use now to help you and your family get prepared for next year’s hurricane season. It is never too early to BE PREPARED!