The US hasn’t experienced the landfall of a Category 3 hurricane or larger since 2005, when Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma all hit the US coast. According to a new NASA study, a string of nine years without a major hurricane landfall in the US is Iikely to come along only once every 177 years.
The current nine-year “drought” is the longest period of time that has passed without a major hurricane making landfall in the US since reliable records began in 1850, said Timothy Hall, a research scientist who studies hurricanes at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York.
The National Hurricane Center calls any Category 3 or more intense hurricane a “major” storm. Hall and colleague Kelly Hereid, who works for ACE Tempest Re, a reinsurance firm based in Connecticut, ran a statistical hurricane model based on a record of Atlantic tropical cyclones from 1950 to 2012 and sea surface temperature data.
The researchers ran 1 000 computer simulations of the period from 1950 – 2012 – in effect simulating 63 000 separate Atlantic hurricane seasons. They found that a nine-year period without a major landfall is likely to occur once every 177 years on average.
While the study did not delve into the meteorological causes behind this lack of major hurricane landfalls, Hall said it appears it is a result of luck.
- "The frequency and duration of U.S. hurricane droughts" – Geophysical Research Letters, May 5, 2015
Featured image: NASA/Goddard
If you value what we do here, open your ad-free account and support our journalism.
Producing content you read on this website takes a lot of time, effort, and hard work. If you value what we do here, select the level of your support and register your account.
Your support makes this project fully self-sustainable and keeps us independent and focused on the content we love to create and share.
All our supporters can browse the website without ads, allowing much faster speeds and a clean interface. Your comments will be instantly approved and you’ll have a direct line of communication with us from within your account dashboard. You can suggest new features and apps and you’ll be able to use them before they go live.
You can choose the level of your support.
Stay kind, vigilant and ready!