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Fewest named hurricanes since 1997

Posted by feww on December 3, 2009

El Niño helped ensure fewest named storms and hurricanes in 13 years

The 2009 Atlantic hurricane season officially ended on November 30 with Nine named storms,  three hurricanes including 2 major hurricanes at Category 3 strength or higher.

2009 Atlantic Storm Tracks – Preliminary. Credit: NOAA

On average, the Atlantic hurricane season clocks up 11 named storms and 6 hurricanes including 2 major hurricanes, NOAA said

“The reduced activity was expected and reflects the development of El Niño during the summer,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. “El Niño produced strong wind shear across the Caribbean Sea and western tropical Atlantic, which resulted in fewer and shorter-lived storms compared to some recent very active seasons.”

Although Claudette and Ida, struck the U.S. mainland with tropical storm force winds,  no hurricanes hit the U.S. in 2009, the first time in three years. Only 38 hurricane hunter aircraft reconnaissance missions were flown  over the Atlantic Basin this year compared to 169 in 2008, signifying a less active season, NOAA said.

“El Niño is expected to reach peak strength this winter, and will likely continue into the spring. It is far too early to say whether El Niño will be present next summer,” added Bell.

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