From: David A Gabel, ENN
Published December 21, 2010 11:38 AM

Summary of the 2010 North Atlantic Hurricane Season

The 2010 hurricane season in the north Atlantic has come and gone. Although, the US was hardly touched by this year’s storms, it turns out that 2010 was one of the busiest hurricane seasons on record. There were 19 named storms, tied for the third highest on record (1887 and 1995). Of these, 12 became hurricanes, and five reached major hurricane status of Category 3 or higher.

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The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted at the beginning of the season that there would be 14-23 named storms, 8-14 hurricanes, and 3-7 major hurricanes. These predictions, which proved accurate, are above the average numbers for hurricane seasons: 11 named storms, six hurricanes, and two major hurricanes.

The greater numbers influenced by large-scale climate features such as warmer waters in the Atlantic, favorable winds coming off the coast of Africa, and weak wind shear aided by La Nina.

However, it is the short-term weather patterns that influence the paths of the storms. This year, those patterns led them away from the United States. The jet stream’s position acted as a barrier which kept storms over open water in the Atlantic. Plus, many storms formed over the eastern Atlantic, giving them ample time to curve back north and east before making landfall.

Other parts of the Americas were not so fortunate. Hurricane Tomas did heavy damage to earthquake-ravaged Haiti. Mexico, specifically the Yucatan Peninsula, and other Central American countries were hit with several major storms. In fact, the first hurricane of the season, Alex, did awful damage to northern Mexico, causing mudslides and heavy flooding.

In contrast, the eastern North Pacific saw record low number of hurricanes. There were only seven named storms, three hurricanes, and two major hurricanes. This is the fewest number of named storms and hurricanes since the satellite era begun in the mid-1960s. On average, the North Pacific produces 15 named storms and nine hurricanes.

A summary of Atlantic storms and their intensity are as follows:

Name       Class                  Date            Landfall

Alex         Hurricane            6/25-7/2      Northern Mexico
Bonnie     Tropical Storm    7/22-24       Southern Florida
Colin       Tropical Storm     8/2-8           none
Danielle   Major Hurricane   8/21-31      none
Earl         Major Hurricane   8/25-9/5    Nova Scotia
Fiona      Tropical Storm     8/30-9/3      none
Gaston    Tropical Storm     9/1-2          Lesser Antilles
Hermine  Tropical Storm     9/6-8          Southern Texas
Igor        Major Hurricane   9/8-21        New Foundland
Julia        Major Hurricane   9/12-20       none
Karl       Major Hurricane    9/14-18      Southern Mexico
Lisa        Hurricane              9/21-26      none
Matthew Tropical Storm     9/23-26      Central America
Nicole    Tropical Storm      9/28-29      Central America
Otto       Hurricane              10/6-10      none
Paula      Hurricane             10/11-15     Cuba
Richard  Hurricane             10/21-26      Belize/Mexico
Shary     Hurricane             10-29-30     none
Tomas   Hurricane              10/29-11/7   Haiti


NOAA has produced a time-lapse video of the Atlantic Basin for the entire 2010 hurricane season. The video is about five minutes long. Watch and try to identify each storm!

Link to view video: http://www.nnvl.noaa.gov/MediaDetail.php?MediaID=595&MediaTypeID=2

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