by Jim Hudgins
The 2010 Atlantic hurricane season was once again above normal in the number of storms with 16 named systems, (see image below), of which 9 became hurricanes, and 5 major hurricanes. There were also two tropical depressions that never reached storm status. The average number of storms is just around 10 named cyclones including 6 hurricanes and 3 majors (Category 3 +).
The first storm (Hurricane Alex) formed on June 25th and the last system (as of this writing) on October 12th which was Hurricane Paula, which dissipated October 15th. The strongest storm was Hurricane Igor, a category 4 hurricane with winds of 155 mph which developed in the far eastern Atlantic as a classic Cape Verde type system. Igor made about a two week trek through the open Atlantic, eventually crossing Bermuda as a much weak category 1 system, before making a direct hit on Newfoundland. Earl was another Cape Verde system that reached category 4 status but again stayed mostly over open water before impacting Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. This system did bring battering surf and coastal flooding to parts of the Eastern U.S. but little impact to the local area. This was a trend that was reflected through much of the tropical season with only the Gulf Coast and Florida seeing landfalling weaker tropical systems while the East Coast remained basically untouched. This was due in part to a large trough of low pressure that persisted off the East Coast for much of the summer which acted to deflect most storms offshore.
However, much of the region from Central America across the Yucatan Peninsula to mainland Mexico took the brunt of the landfalls, with strong winds and severe flooding causing destruction and loss of life. The total fatalities for the 2010 tropical season so far are around 250 with at least $7.9 billion in damage mainly outside of the U.S.
Climatology suggests that a few additional tropical systems could occur through the end of November which marks the end of the official 2010 hurricane season.