End of Hurricane Season
The 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season came to an end Wednesday and it was another active season, as predicted. The hurricane season runs from June 1st until November 30th and is all because of water temperature. During this period of time, the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico are at least 80 degrees; the critical temperature for tropical storm and hurricane development. Hurricanes do not like cold water and once we get into December, the water temperatures are too cool for tropical development. Cold water is the reason why the west coast does not have to worry about hurricanes. The Pacific Ocean is in the 50s and 60s, which is way too cold for tropical storms.
This past season was very active with 19 named storms, or topical storms when winds become 39 mph or greater. Of those 19 storms, 7 became hurricanes when winds are sustained at 74 mph, and 3 of those hurricanes became major hurricanes with sustained winds of at least 111 mph. The 19 storms is the third highest total since records starting being kept in 1851. 2011 is tied with 1887 and only behind 1995, and 2010.
An average hurricane season has 11 tropical storms, 6 hurricanes and 2 major. Hurricane Irene was the first to make landfall in the U.S. since Ike hit Texas in 2008, but no major hurricanes have hit the U.S. since 2005.