A Costly Hurricane Season

The 2008 Atlantic hurricane season ended Sunday, marking the finish of one of the busiest and costliest hurricane seasons ever.  The damage caused by this year's Atlantic hurricanes is estimated at $54 billion, according to the National Climatic Data Center. That's second in recorded history only to 2005, the year Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the Gulf Coast. The total that year was an estimated $128 billion.  It was the fourth busiest Atlantic hurricane year since 1944. The National Climatic Data Center said 2008 is "the only year on record in which a major hurricane existed in every month from July through November in the north Atlantic." 

The most destructive was Hurricane Ike. Its unstoppable force wiped out neighborhoods in parts of Texas. Even a week later, remnants of its impact were still being felt in the Great Lakes region.  Ike image below:

Texas had earlier taken a beating from Hurricane Dolly, which battered South Padre Island with 100 mph winds, making it the worst storm to hit the island in more than three decades.  Dolly image below:

Hurricane Gustav was also responsible for much of the 2008 devastation, leaving crippled communities, businesses, and homes from Haiti to Louisiana.  Gustav image below:


Hurricane Hanna, not long after, brought massive floods to Haiti, killing hundreds and leaving thousands helpless, homeless, and hungry, before churning its way toward North and South Carolina.  Hanna image below:

In all, there have been 16 named storms since the Atlantic hurricane season started on June 1. Eight were hurricanes, five of them major -- meaning Category 3 or higher. Three -- Dolly, Gustav, and Ike -- made landfall in the United States, though none was a major hurricane at the time of landfall.

This just goes to show that it doesn't take major ( category 3 or higher ) hurricanes to cause major damage to life and property.

Chief Meteorologist Brian Bledsoe

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