Earth's Journal

Atmosphere Journal Entry

Busy Hurricane Season Ends (December 1, 2010)

Hurricane Igor

Hurricane Igor was one of 12 Atlantic hurricanes in 2010. It was one of the largest hurricanes on record. NASA.

The busy 2010 Atlantic hurricane season is officially over. Despite the fact that not a single hurricane made landfall in the United States, it was one of the most active seasons on record. There were 19 named storms with sustained winds greater than 39 miles per hour (62 km/h). That's the most since 2005 and the third most on record. Twelve storms reached hurricane strength with winds of over 74 mph (118 km/h), tying for the second most in history. Hurricane season runs from the beginning of June through the end of November.

This year, ocean conditions in the tropical Atlantic were ideal for hurricane formation, with warmer than normal water. La Niña was another factor. It reduces Atlantic wind shear and gives hurricanes a better chance to develop. The season featured some quirky facts. It was the first season having at least ten hurricanes but with none hitting the United States. Two Category 4 hurricanes swirled in the Atlantic at the same time, another first. Hurricane Julia was the farthest east Category 4 storm in history.

The 2010 season also included storms of unusual size. Hurricane Igor was one of the largest hurricane on record, stretching for nearly 500 miles (800 km) at its peak. By contrast, rain bands of tiny Hurricane Paula extended only 60 miles (100 km) from its eye.