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2010 Hurricane Season Summary

The "Gentle Giant" Year of Hurricanes

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2010 Hurricane Season Summary

The official map of the 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season can be seen showing the wind speeds, category levels, and tracked paths. Each storm is color coded and labeled with the name of the storm.

NOAA National Hurricane Center

Hurricane season 2010 was one of extremes in the Atlantic basin, but strangely inactive in the Pacific. For those that remember recent years, the 2005 hurricane season as well as the 2008 hurricane season broke records of various types. For instance, every month of hurricane season had at least one major storm in each month in 2008. Bertha, for instance, was one of the longest-lived July hurricanes ever.

The 2010 season was strange, to say the least. A total of 19 named storms formed. The season tied with 1887 and 1995 as the third highest number of storms on record. Though intense, the predictions for the season were accurate. The original seasonal outlooks, based on sea surface temperatures and a La Nina event, were very precise. 12 of the 19 storms reached hurricane strength. On average, only 11 named storms form, of which six become hurricanes as you can see in the official 2010 Atlantic hurricane tracking chart.

In the Pacific, the same La Nina event that helped more storms to form in the Atlantic also helped to keep the Pacific season at bay. The record for the lowest number of named storms in the Pacific occurred during the 1977 season. There were only 7 named storms. When compared to an average of 15 named storms, this is significant. In addition of the seven named storms, only three became hurricanes. Normally there are nine. Look at a map of all of the 2010 Pacific hurricanes.

Since 1995, hurricanes seem to be increasing in both strength and number. For instance, Hurricane Tomas nearly devastated an already crippled Haiti. Hurricane Alex also brought deadly flooding and mudslides to Mexico.

While the weather was favorable for hurricane formation and strengthening, there was also favorable weather that caused many of these storms to divert from the US coast. As the jet stream kept most of the eastern United States dry, the storms bounced off this region and were prevented from making landfall. Most of the storms ended up dying in open water leading the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to dub the 2010 hurricane season as a "gentle giant" in terms of hurricane history.

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