Home Environmental Recurring East Coast Low Pressure May Be Saving U.S. From Major Hurricanes

Recurring East Coast Low Pressure May Be Saving U.S. From Major Hurricanes

It has been 10 years since a major hurricane has made landfall in the United States. (NASA)

By Phil Klotzbach and Brian McNoldyWashingtonPost.com, SouthFloridaReporter.com, Dec. 10, 2015 – The Atlantic basin hurricane season officially ended on Nov. 30, marking yet another year that the U.S. coast avoided the landfall of a major hurricane. It has been more than 10 years since that happened — since Hurricane Wilma in 2005 — the longest such “drought” on record, eclipsing the previous record of eight years set from 1861 to 1868.

Major hurricanes are defined only by their maximum winds — any storm that’s a Category 3 or stronger — but say nothing about a hurricane’s impacts. Certainly, despite the dearth of strong storms, the United States has experienced significant hurricane damage over the past 10 years; notably, Gustav and Ike in 2008; Irene in 2011; and Sandy in 2012, all of which caused considerable loss of life and huge financial losses.

But there is no denying that there is something significant about this drought, and it’s leading atmospheric scientists to ask why it’s happening.

Obviously, there is a considerable component of luck at play here. Cuba, a mere 150 miles south of Florida, has been devastated by several major hurricanes during the same time period. It also may come as a surprise that 27 major hurricanes have formed in the Atlantic Ocean since Wilma, about a dozen of which made landfall as major hurricanes in places outside the United States.

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