DAILY NEWS Nov 30, 2012 2:41 PM - 0 comments

Busy Atlantic hurricane season continues decades-long high activity: NOAA

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The 2012 Atlantic hurricane season officially ended Friday, one that included 19 named storms, including Hurricane Sandy, which devastated much of the eastern United States in October. 

SandyTen named storms became hurricanes this year, and Hurricane Michael, a Category 3 storm, was the only “major” one, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) noted. That storm remained over the open Atlantic.

Read more: Estimates on Sandy's insured losses updated

The average number of named storms per year is 12, and for hurricanes is six, making 2012 quite an active year. While the NOAA classified this year as “above-normal,” it wasn’t as exceptionally active as 10 other years in the past few decades, it noted.

Several storms did strike parts of the U.S.  this year, including tropical storms Beryl and Debby in Florida, Hurricane Isaac in Louisiana. Hurricane Sandy, which made landfall in New Jersey in late October, was one storm that caused major damage throughout the eastern U.S. and parts of Ontario and Quebec.

Insured loss estimates from Hurricane Sandy have varied, with some estimates reaching $22 billion. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has estimated insured losses from the storm to be $100 million in Canada.

Read more: IBC pegs Canadian insured loss estimate from Sandy at $100 million

Many storms this year, though, were short and weak and went mostly unnoticed as they stayed over the Atlantic. “The number of named storms and hurricanes was higher than predicted in NOAA’s pre-season outlook, in large part because El Niño – which likely would have suppressed overall storm activity – never materialized as predicted by many climate models,” it noted.

This hurricane season also had an early start, with two tropical storms, Alberto and Beryl, developing in May before the official start of the season, NOAA noted. 2012 was also the seventh consecutive year no major hurricanes above Category 3 hit the United States, it added.

Sandy damage“This year proved that it’s wrong to think that only major hurricanes can ruin lives and impact local economies,” Laura Furgione, acting director of NOAA’s National Weather Service said.

“We are hopeful that after the 2012 hurricane season, more families and businesses all along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts become more ‘weather ready’ by understanding the risks associated with living near the coastline.  Each storm carries a unique set of threats that can be deadly and destructive. Mother Nature reminded us again this year of how important it is to be prepared and vigilant.”

NOAA will release its pre-season outlook for the 2013 hurricane season in May.

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