Hurricane Season Ends; 2019 Was Above-Average

Satellite photo from Sept. 3 shows, from left, Fernand, Dorian and Gabrielle. (Photo from NOAA)
Satellite photo from Sept. 3 shows, from left, Fernand, Dorian and Gabrielle. (Photo from NOAA)

The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season, which ends at midnight, was marked by an above-average number of storms, including Hurricane Dorian, which impacted the Virgin Islands, then moved on and devastated the Bahamas before hitting the mainland and causing flooding throughout the Carolinas.

The season produced 18 named storms, including six hurricanes of which three were “major” – Category 3, 4 or 5. NOAA’s outlook called for 10-17 named storms, five to nine hurricanes and two to four major hurricanes.

The result of the season was slightly over what had been predicted by the Tropical Meteorology Project at Colorado State University.

“The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season was well above-average for the number of named storms, and near-normal for the number of hurricanes and major hurricanes, according to the season-ending report from CSU.

The National Hurricane Center noted that 2019 was the fourth consecutive year of above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. The only other period on record that produced four consecutive above-normal seasons was 1998-2001.

Also this year, according to the NHC, five tropical cyclones formed in the Gulf of Mexico, which ties a record with 2003 and 1957 for the most storms to form in that region. Of those, three – Barry, Imelda and Nestor – made landfall in the U.S. mainland.

Colorado State’s report included the following statistics for the season:

– No named storms formed in the Atlantic between July 12 and Aug. 20. This is the first time this had occurred since 1982.

– Ten named storm formations occurred in the Atlantic between Aug. 21 and Sept. 23. This ties the season with 1949 and 2010 for the most Atlantic named storm formation between Aug. 21 and Sept. 23.

– Hurricane Dorian’s maximum lifetime intensity of 160 knots was the strongest for any Atlantic hurricane outside of the tropics – that is, higher than 23.5 degrees north latitude.

– Hurricane Dorian was the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the Bahamas on record. The fact that the storm lingered more than a day before passing on added to the damage the island group suffered.

– Hurricane Lorenzo was the farthest-east Atlantic Category 5 hurricane formation on record at 45 degree west longitude – shattering the old record of Hurricane Hugo at 54.6 west.