The 2010 Atlantic hurricane season is drawing to a close, and two U.S. weather experts appear to have been correct when they said the season would be above average.
In a June estimate, they predicted 18 named storms. The season is closing with 19 named storms and no activity in the Atlantic. The official closing date is Tuesday.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hedged the bet a bit by predicting from 14 to 23 named storms.
The two experts at Colorado State University, Philip J. Klotzbach and William M. Gray, predicted six to eight hurricanes and then upgraded their estimate June 2 to 10 hurricanes. The season saw 12 hurricanes. The pair said there would be three to five major hurricanes, and there were five.
In a report this month the pair said that the 2010 hurricane activity was high due to an unusually warm Atlantic basin surface sea temperature and a rapidly developing La Niña event in the Pacific. The 19 named storms were 198 percent greater than the 1950-2000 average, they said. They ranged from Alex June 26 to July 1 to Tomas, the tropical storm and later a hurricane that delivered so much damage to Costa Rica in the first days of November.
Hurricane Alex, the first storm, brushed past Central America in late June and then made landfall in northern México where it did $2 billion in damage and killed 32 persons.
Hurricanes Igor, the ninth storm, and Julia, the tenth, did not make landfall and ended up dissipating in the north Atlantic.
However, Karl, the 11th storm, formed Sept. 14 and passed over Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. It caused 15 deaths and about $4 billion in damages.
Tropical storm Matthew made landfall in northern Nicaragua Sept. 24 after causing seven deaths in Venezuela.
Hurricane Richard, storm No. 17, formed in the western Caribbean Oct. 21 and eventually made landfall near Belize City. Damage was reported about $18 million.
Tomas, hurricane and tropical storm No. 19, formed Oct. 29 and never touched Central America. but its effects destroyed hundreds of miles of roads in Costa Rica and caused major landslides, including one that killed 21 persons in San Antonio de Escazú.
Damage estimates in Costa Rica alone are around $500 million, including $330 million in public infrastructure.
The only storm to make landfall in the United States was Bonnie, No. 2, which touched south Florida in late July. Other weather systems reached the United States but they had been downgraded to a depression or less when they did.
The Colorado Springs researchers said that only twice since 1944 were there 19 or more storms. In 1995 there were 19, and in 2005 there were 28, they said.