ABOVE-AVERAGE 2000 ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON CONTINUES RECENT UPTURN IN ACTIVITY;
U.S. SPARED EXTENSIVE HURRICANE DAMAGE
November 30, 2000 The 2000 Atlantic hurricane season officially ended today, marking the third consecutive year of above-average activity. Though the United States escaped a direct hit from a hurricane this year, forecasters said the threat was there. For the entire season, 14 named storms churned in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Seaeight became hurricanes, and three reached major hurricane strength. (Click image for larger view.)
"Just as NOAA's hurricane
forecasters predicted, there were more storms than normal for
the third consecutive year. But this active season may have escaped
notice because the U.S. mainland was spared a landfall storm
of hurricane strength for the first time since 1994," said
NOAA Administrator D.
James Baker. "Researchers feel we have now entered a
cycle of above-average storm activity unseen since the 1950s
Retired Brig. Gen. Jack Kelly, director of NOAA's National Weather Service said, "This year's level of activity carries a message for people living in areas at risk. Even when we are not directly threatened, there is always reason to be prepared. It's not a question of if' a major hurricane will strike, but when.'"
Max Mayfield, director of NOAA's National Hurricane Center in Miami said, "The United States was spared the direct impact of a hurricane, but the risks were still there as they are during every hurricane season."
As examples, Mayfield cited three of this season's Atlantic storms. "In September, Hurricane Gordon killed 23 in Guatemala, and Hurricane Keith struck Belize and caused 19 deaths and about $200 million in damages in the region." Mayfield also said a tropical weather system does not have to reach the level of a hurricane to wreak havoc. "Even before it became Tropical Storm Leslie, that system dropped 18 inches of rain in south Florida, and caused massive urban flooding and $700 million in total damage."
The Atlantic hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, although most tropical storms and hurricanes typically occur during the August-October peak period. This season, all of the tropical storms and hurricanes occurred between August and October. The United States recorded only modest tropical storm-related damage and flooding in 2000 because none of the hurricanes made landfall.
Kelly added, "Nature gave us a reprieve this season from land-falling hurricanes, but we may not be as fortunate next year. Residents living in areas prone to tropical storms must create a safety plan, get to know local evacuation procedures and keep a NOAA Weather Radio handy."
Relevant Web Sites