WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Today marks the end of the 2011 Hurricane Season. This year will go down as yet another active season in the books, but also one that didn’t see many storms affect the United States.
While several storms were close calls with the mainland, the only hurricane that made landfall was Hurricane Irene. Official landfall was just north of southeastern North Carolina at Cape Lookout on August 27. Here in the Cape Fear, the storm dumped up to 8 inches of rain, brought winds near hurricane strength, caused widespread power outages and saw one man die after jumping into the Cape Fear River near Castle Hayne.
Irene was the first hurricane to make landfall in the US since Hurricane Ike came ashore in Texas in 2008. The legacy of the storm may be the raised awareness it brought to the Northeast US, by reminding the area that it can still be struck by hurricanes.
The end of season tally includes 19 named storms, seven of which became hurricanes and three major hurricanes (category 3 or higher). The 19 named systems is tied for the third-highest total on record with 1887, 1995 and 2010. The original NOAA forecast, which called for 12-18 storms to form, 6-10 of which would become hurricanes, and 3-6 major hurricanes to form, stacked up nicely with the end result.
It should be noted that high resolution satellites allow us now to "see" storms in the Atlantic that otherwise would have gone undetected in past years.
Hurricane Season 2012 starts June 1.