Historic hurricane hotspot now faces 10-year drought
Monday, November 30, 2015, 4:55 PM - No major hurricanes measuring Category 3 or greater have made landfall in the U.S. for the past nine years. Researchers say this type of 'hurricane drought' hasn't been seen since record-keeping began in 1851.
While unusual, the factors causing the phenomenon couldn't be more ordinary. Earlier this year, a team of researchers looked into the streak and concluded it can be chalked up to nothing more than dumb luck.
“There’s been a lot of talk about how unusual the string is, and we want to quantify it,” hurricane researcher Timothy Hall of the NASA Goddard Institute and lead author of the study said in a statement.
“When we looked qualitatively at the nine-year drought, they aren't inactive seasons."
In other words, there hasn't been a substantial change in the number of tropical cyclones over the years and the amount of energy driving them hasn't dwindled. Still, some areas have seen no hurricane activity whatsoever over the past few years.
Florida, for example, has recently set a record after going 10 years without a hurricane making landfall in the state, multiple news outlets report.
That's not to say the area hasn't seen its share of stormy weather.
In late August, Tropical Storm Erika promoted a state of emergency in Florida after it slammed into Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, triggering devastating floods and landslides.
While the 2015 hurricane season as a whole has been relatively quiet, it started early with Tropical Storm Ana forming off the coast of South Carolina on May 7. It later became the earliest tropical storm to make landfall in the U.S.
Given the fact that November 30 is the last day of the Atlantic hurricane season, it looks like Florida will remain safe for now -- but experts are quick to point out the state remains vulnerable.
"There's no magic bullet or changes in the weather patterns protecting us," Frank Marks, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hurricane Research Division in Miami told the Sun Sentinel.
"We're going to have more landfalls; history and statistics tell us that."