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Sunday, July 14, 2019

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Whew! Another quiet hurricane season ends for south Louisiana

Whew! Another quiet hurricane season ends for south Louisiana

The six-month 2016 Atlantic hurricane season, which officially ended Wednesday, had the most storms since 2010 and was the first season that saw more storms than normal since 2012, but left south Louisiana virtually unscathed.

The most memorable storm was deadly and devastating Hurricane Matthew, which left hundreds dead in Haiti and led to tremendous flooding in the Carolinas after spinning up the U.S. East Coast.

The season was an unusually long one as well, starting with bizarre Hurricane Alex in January and ending with Hurricane Otto, which made a rare Thanksgiving landfall in Central America.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a total of 15 named tropical storms formed during 2016, seven of which turned into hurricanes (Alex, Earl, Gaston, Hermine, Matthew, Nicole and Otto).

A normal season sees 12 named storms, six of which become hurricanes.

Three of the hurricanes in 2016 were classified as major hurricanes (Gaston, Matthew and Nicole), meaning they reached Category 3 strength with wind speeds of 111 mph or higher.

Despite the active season, the major hurricane “drought” — that is the 11-year stretch without a Category 3 or higher storm making landfall in the United States — still stands. The last major hurricane to hit the United States was Wilma in October 2005.

The U.S. has never had another 11-year period without a major hurricane landfall since records began in 1851, according to Colorado State University.

The strongest and longest-lived storm of the season was Matthew, which had winds of 160 mph and lasted as a major hurricane for eight days from Sept. 30 to Oct. 7. Matthew was the first category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic since Felix in 2007.

Matthew killed 49 people in the U.S.

We are now six months from the 2017 hurricane season, and the first few names on the list of storms are Arlene, Bret, and Cindy. The only new name on the list is Irma, which replaces Irene (retired after slamming the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast 2011). The 2017 list was first used in 1981, and of the 21 original names, 13 are still in circulation.