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'Gentle giant' of a hurricane season closes

READ MORE: 'Gentle giant' of a hurricane season closes

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Hurricane season makes a lot of folks around here nervous. The season is over, and thankfully here in North Carolina, it came and went without any storms ravaging our coast.

If we had to sum of the 2010 hurricane season in just a few words, it would be "busy, but quiet." This year's storm tally was nearly off the charts, but nearly every storm turned away just in time to spare the us from a direct hit.

Looking across the Atlantic at all the storms this year, the map is a bit crowded. Nineteen named storms formed during the season, the second most on record in the Atlantic basin. In fact, only the infamous 2005 season had more storms, 28, than we saw off the coast this year.

The season's real story was our ability to dodge the bullet. Watching from the coast, you would have thought that it was a quiet year for hurricanes, even though it was anything but.

On average one in every four hurricanes that forms hits the US coast, but this year, all 12 hurricanes left the US unscathed. That's unheard of for such an active season.

The closest call of the year actually came just off our shores, when Hurricane Earl approached the Carolina coast. At his closest approach, the eye of the storm rode just about 80 miles east of Cape Hatteras, where winds gusted to 83 mph. In our area, we saw little more than some high surf and gusty winds.

But why did each and every storm keep curving away from the US? It's not a coincidence. An area of high pressure in the central Atlantic called the sub-tropical high steers storms around its edge. This year, the high was a bit farther east that we typically see. As storms formed near Africa, they were guided west as usual, but because the high was farther east, the storms curved north earlier sparing the coast

In 2005, where storm after storm battered the US, this same area of high pressure was farther west than usual. Instead of guiding storms away from the coast, it sent them onshore.

So we say goodbye to Hurricane Season 2010; the year that may become known as the gentle giant.

Early season forecasts for this hurricane season were nearly dead on. Back in May, the National Weather Service predicted between 14 to 23 named storms, and eight to 14 hurricanes. The predictions panned out.

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