2016: Deadliest Hurricane Season Since 2005
Yesterday we aired our interview with the Chief Met Officer, Catherine Cumberbatch who spoke on the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season which concluded November 30. On the local scene, there were no lives lost during Hurricane Earl which made landfall on August 4, 2016 but the country did sustain millions of dollars in damages in the housing, agriculture and economic sectors. On a more holistic approach at what the Hurricane Season for 2016 in the Atlantic Basin was like we quote a report from AccuWeather which noted that this year was the most active Atlantic hurricane season in four years. The reported stated, quote, “The season spawned 15 named storms, seven of which were hurricanes. The season was the deadliest since 2005 and the costliest since 2012. Hurricane Matthew was the strongest storm, reaching Category 5 status in early October and was also the first hurricane to reach Category 5 status since 2007. The storm lashed Haiti, killing more than 1,500 people. The system then trekked into the south-eastern United States, spreading flooding and destructive winds from Florida into the Carolinas. North Carolina suffered the worst flooding since Floyd in 1999. Dozens were killed in the U.S. Many fatalities were linked to motorists attempting to drive through flooded roadways. In early September, Hurricane Hermine became the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Wilma in 2005. The season lived up to early predictions. As the pattern transitioned toward La Niña, the basin was expected to be active. Hurricane Earl slammed parts of Central America in early August, causing damage to infrastructure in Guatemala and Belize. At least 45 people were killed, mostly due to massive landslides. Storm surge inundated parts of Belize City. Strong winds ripped roofs off some buildings, uprooted trees and caused widespread power outages. Tropical Storm Julia formed over land, just outside of Jacksonville, Florida, in mid-September, marking a rare occurrence. Storms do not typically reach a tropical status over land. The slow-moving storm caused flash flooding and produced 3 to 6 inches of rain across portions of eastern Georgia and South Carolina. In late November, Hurricane Otto became the southernmost hurricane to make landfall in South America. The system hit Nicaragua with strong winds and intense rainfall. Nearly 10 people were killed.” End of quote. Meanwhile, in another online publication from Earth Sky, an article was published today on the future of hurricane tracks. According to the report, the northeastern coast of the United States could be hit by more frequent and more powerful hurricanes in the future. This, says the article, is according to research published in the journal Scientific Reports on November 23, 2016. The article continued, quote, “The study found that, due to shifting weather patterns, hurricanes have gradually moved northwards from the western Caribbean toward northern North America over the past few hundred years. The reason for this change in the hurricane track, the researchers suggest, is the expansion of atmospheric circulation belts driven by increasing carbon dioxide emissions. New York and other major cities along the northeast coast could come under a growing threat from these severe storms and need to be better prepared for their potential impact.” End of quote.