This week, we close the door on yet another hurricane season. And it’s been quite a year in the Carolinas as far as named storms are concerned.
Remember, a tropical system only receives a name if its winds reach at least 39 mph. This year, only 9 named storms formed.
The seasonal average is 10 to 11. Of the tropical storms that did form, only 3 reached hurricane status, well below the seasonal average of 6.
But the hurricanes that did form were distinctive.
Hurricane Bill was the strongest storm of the season, reaching Category 4 status in mid-August with 135 mph winds. Although Bill’s course kept it offshore for much of its lifespan, it still created rough surf and dangerous rip currents as far south as the Carolinas, prompting dozens of water rescues.
Hurricane Fred spent all of it’s life over open water in early September, never really posing a major threat to any land masses. But Fred did have the distinction of becoming one of only three major hurricanes to form east of 35 degrees west in the Atlantic. After reaching a peak wind speed of 120 mph, Fred steadily weakened due to increased wind shear.
The last of the Hurricanes, Ida, reached its peak intensity in the northwest Caribbean Sea in early November, when winds reached 105 mph.
Ida weakened to tropical storm status by the time it landfalled in Alabama. But the heavy rains from the remnant low made headlines all throughout the southeastern United States. Over 11 inches fell over parts of the East Coast, where the system developed into a full-blown nor-easter. By mid November, the topics were quiet again, and that trend continues to hold.